Franklin football coach Chris Coll was just happy to see his team get into the win column. The fact that the first victory came against his mentor didn’t matter to him at all.
Drew Byerly threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns added a pair of scoring runs as the Grizzly Cubs torched Mooresville, 52-14, on Friday night.
Coll’s first win at Franklin came at the expense of Mike Gillin, in his first year with the Pioneers after 16 seasons at Indian Creek. Gillin had coached Coll at Tri-West in the mid-1980s.
“Really, to be honest with you, no satisfaction in that,” Coll said. “I really would’ve probably enjoyed it more against somebody else. I’ve got a great father, but if I ever needed a second dad, (Gillin) would be it.”
The game was a mismatch from the outset.
After the Pioneers (0-6) opened the game with a turnover on downs near midfield, Franklin rode running back Tyler Fromer to an early lead. The senior carried eight times for 45 yards, capping the drive with an 8-yard run to put the Grizzly Cubs up 7-0 at the 6:17 mark of the first period.
Set up with a short field after a 33-yard punt return by Tyce Miller, Franklin (1-5) quickly found the end zone again. Byerly found Riley McCann at the 1 on third and long, and Fromer scored on the next play with 2:42 on the clock.
Following another Mooresville punt, McCann made a leaping 43-yard grab to set up another Grizzly Cub touchdown, this one a 22-yard pass from Byerly to Noah Crow with 10:50 to go in the half. Garrett Eason recovered a fumble on the Pioneers’ next snap and Franklin promptly stretched the lead to 28-0 on a 5-yard run by Hunter Samples.
Byerly tacked on a 13-yard scoring run, and after Mooresville finally got on the board with 1:30 remaining before the break to cut it to 35-7, Spencer Downhour closed the half with a 29-yard field goal for the Grizzly Cubs.
Byerly broke free for a 49-yard TD run late in the third period and hit Blake Dicken for a 20-yard score with 10:46 to go in the game. Mooresville added a late touchdown against the Franklin reserves.
Fromer finished with 101 yards rushing on 24 carries for Franklin before sitting out the final period. McCann caught five passes for 97 yards.
“I’m happy for the kids as much as anything,” Coll said, “to finally get over the hump and be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”