The Player Perspective: FHS Football Pins Latest Victory on Clutch Defense and Dependable Game Plan


Hunter Smith

Franklin Players with the “Beware of the Dogs” back plates

Ryan Martin, Writer

Last Friday, Attleboro High’s Tozier-Cassidy Field provided the backdrop for what was expected to be another convincing win for Franklin football. But, after taking a lead on the very first drive, the Bombardiers showed that they weren’t intimated by the formidable 5-0 Panthers. In a gritty, old-school game, Franklin pulled out a 21-19 win to move on to a 6-0 season. After the game, I caught up with Senior Captain Ethan Aiello, along with Juniors Jase Lyons and Nick Quintina, to hear their thoughts on Franklin’s closest game all season:

Ryan Martin: This Attleboro game was one of your most hard-fought wins of all season, but nonetheless you guys are 6-0. Do you think this team has played up to their full potential yet?

Jase Lyons: I don’t think we have played to our fullest potential yet. Coach always says we getter better week by week and I think we have yet to play that game where we are all completely at our best. I think we most certainly can play that game and hopefully, we will in the upcoming weeks.

Nick Quintina: To be honest with you, no, I don’t think we have reached our maximum potential yet. But we definitely just need to keep practicing at a high level; we need everyone to give full effort. I think we have a lot more dominance in us to show. It all starts with being locked in as a unit and preparing our minds right each week. Last week against Attleboro, we were a little lackadaisical but that’s in the past. This week we need to have the best practice week of the whole season to be able to beat Milford. They got a strong team but we also have a pretty good team as well; it will be a dog fight. It’ll be one of those games where the better competitor will come out with the win- we need to have that x-factor to have a shot to win. I really think we will come out on top if we get our minds right and compete at our level of play like we’ve been playing at all season.

RM: Ethan, starting with the offensive side of the ball, The O looked pretty solid all night, with the passing game becoming the focal point. Do you take pride in keeping the pocket clean so QB Jared Arone has the time he needs?

Ethan Aiello: As an offensive lineman,  you have to take pride in keeping the guy under center upright. If you don’t have that attitude you simply aren’t gonna succeed; as a unit, we have that mentality, we love to get dirty so Jared [Arone] stays clean. 

RM: Franklin took a 21-13 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, but that was the last you scored. With such a good defense behind you, how comfortable are you offensively playing with a slim lead?

EA: We know as a team that the defense will make the plays when it matters most. So, as an offense, it takes a lot of stress off us at all times. Having one of, if not the best, defense in the league is definitely a luxury we don’t take for granted. 

RM: Transitioning over to the defense, on their very first drive of the game, Attleboro came out fast. But, like you guys have done all year, your red zone defense came up big, forcing them into a Field Goal. What kind of tone did that 3rd down stop set, and how important was it to start the game down 3-0 instead of 7-0?

JL: Letting up just a field goal was much better than letting them drive on us into the end zone. It still kept us confident which showed and helped us in the next drive where we shut them down. I think our defense has played exceptionally all year and will keep getting better.

NQ: I think it was a huge drive. Hats off to the Attleboro offense; I mean they ran something different than we saw on film and gave us a long drive which I think ended up being about 13 plays. But our defense did a great job not giving up when they crept inside our red zone. We just made a great stop.

RM: Both teams struggled to move the ball in the 4th, with zero points being scored over the last quarter. On defense, Attleboro had a chance to take the lead, but you guys force a fumble and later a turnover on downs. What makes this defense so confident that you’ll be able to make plays when it matters the most?

NQ: So we’ve been practicing the drill, at least for the Linebackers, called the Vice drill. Basically, there is a ball carrier and we have 2 players on the defensive side who line up in front of the runner. The runner has the ball while one defender makes contact and fits up on the ball carrier whereas the second defender, called the “stripper”, comes in and makes contact and rips the ball out. We’ve been practicing this drill every week. That helped us out a lot because, in game-like situations, we’re able to use that to our advantage. It ended up working on the play where we made the forced fumble. The defense has been improving each week: getting better, grinding to our max potential, and overall gelling as a defense chemistry-wise in practice. So I think that has helped out with how we have been producing in games on the defensive side of the ball.


Franklin will look to stay perfect in their final regular-season game this Friday, 7 PM as they visit the 6-1 Milford Scarlet Hawks.