Jets vs. Patriots? No, more like Braintree vs. Franklin


Sammy Patel

Franklin Football made the Braintree Wamps look like a middle school team via a 42-6 blowout win

Oh, dear. That hasn’t gone particularly well………for Braintree. If you haven’t heard, Franklin absolutely demolished Braintree in their first-round playoff matchup. It was pretty much a video game in the first half, with Franklin scoring nearly on every drive they got the ball. They ended up scoring 42. That’s right, 42 points in the first half alone against Braintree. They went ahead and applied the “mercy rule”- putting in the JV team for the second half. Yet, Braintree was still only able to put up 6 points.

The Panthers came out firing on all cylinders, with Shane Kindred making all of Braintree’s defenders look like 2-year olds. He set up a 1-yard Mack Gulla TD. That wouldn’t be the last of Gulla for the night; in fact, it would be the start of his dominance. Then after a quick 3 and out by Franklin’s defense, they kept rowing the boat. Gulla took inspiration from Derrick Henry and decided to break out for a 51-yard score to put Franklin up 14-0. We were only 1/12 of the way into the game.

#2 WR Shane Kindred running through Braintree’s defense (Sammy Patel)

The rest of the first quarter was quiet. Braintree was finally able to stop Franklin, but as usual, they failed to do anything on offense. However, the Wamps could only hold down the fort for so long. QB Jared Arone got his first TD of the night with his weekly dime to Kindred. It was a 34-yard TD that put Franklin up 21-0 in the early second quarter. With a very lackluster crowd for Braintree, Panther players and fans knew that this game was slipping away fast from Braintree.

The night didn’t get any better for Braintree, as they were forced into another 3 and out. Often times, this Franklin defensive unit is overlooked by the explosive offense. What I think makes this unit so special is how they are very well balanced with their talent. They have superstars upfront with LB Nick Quintina and LB Cullen Pek. They also have talent in the secondary with players such as DB Devine Johnson and DB Luke Davis. They are able to work so well together and be a nightmare for offenses.

The unstoppable Franklin defensive unit (Sammy Patel)

Then for the 4th time, Franklin found themselves in the end-zone. This time it was Gulla (again) for a 67-yard score. Braintree failed to realize how deadly Gulla is, so after he broke 1 tackle, he was gone. As I’ve said before, he’s a lot like Derrick Henry with his dominant downhill running. Franklin was now up 28-0; this was looking like a lost cause for the Wamps.

That wasn’t enough of a cushion for Franklin, though. After the defense stopped Braintree for what seemed like the 100th time, the special team unit came up big. Braintree’s punt was blocked, and Pek recovered the blocked punt for ANOTHER TD. With a successful XP, the lead was 35, and the game was practically over.

To make sure it was a done deal, Arone and the offense were able to squeeze in another TD right before the half. Will Tracey made his weekly appearance in the end-zone, helping Franklin run up the scoreboard. This was now just an embarrassment for Braintree, as they were down 42 points at the half. Rattle City also knew that this game was over, and most took the business decision and went home to avoid hypothermia. Most parents decided to stick it out to witness JV getting some varsity playing time. The pep band was not so lucky as they were forced to stay till the clock hit 0:00.

Franklin Players Celebrating the TD (Sammy Patel)

Looking ahead to the next round, it is an unexpected matchup against #8 Methuen. Many players expected #9 Everett to win against Methuen in the first round and face Franklin in the Elite 8. They were the favorites over Methuen by a long shot…….but they lost by 2 points. This was the real shocker of the weekend for high school football. The #2 team in the state had lost to a team that most hadn’t heard of before.

Some Franklin fans may be relieved that the team doesn’t have to face Everett in the tourney this year. The more concerning thing, though, is how dangerous Methuen can be. If they can beat the #2 team in the state, they can beat almost every other team. However, I am fully confident that Coach Bain can prepare the players and get them ready for their highly anticipated matchup against Methuen.

Shoutout to Sammy Patel for sticking it out in the cold night and getting his fingers frozen. Follow him on Instagram @sammypatelphotography.