A Sad Weekend; Franklin Panthers Are Defeated Against The Springfield Central Eagles


Sammy Pate

Franklin Panthers offense lining up against Springfield Eagles defense.

Maddie Michenzie, Writer

It was a sad day for the Franklin Panthers Saturday morning, after a tough loss against the Springfield Central Eagles. Coming into the game, nobody really knew who was going to win. Everyone knows that Franklin is known for their smart plays and excellent coaches, but after reviewing the Springfield roster, you couldn’t help but notice the incredibly tall players that Franklin would have to face up against. Franklin did have the upperhand going into the game, however, since Springfield didn’t have a kicker, so were forced to go for a 2-point conversion everytime. Unfortunately the Eagles ended up advancing to the next round of the playoffs at Gillette Stadium with a final score of 49-60

The game started off strong for the Eagles, with Tarik Thomas making the first touchdown of the game. No surprise, Springfield went for the 2 point conversion, which they missed, leaving them with only a 6 point lead. The Eagles were in the lead for a few minutes, until WR Shane Kindred hit the field, making the first touchdown for Franklin. Unlike Springfield, Franklin has a Kicker, and Garrett Portesi was able to make the extra point kick, putting Franklin up only by 1 point. After an incomplete pass from Springfield, they were able to make their 2nd touchdown of the game with a successful 2 point conversion. Yes, there were already 3 touchdowns made in the first quarter, and there were certainly more to come. With Springfield’s 2nd touchdown, the score put Springfield back in the lead, with the score 7-14. 

Shortly after, RB Mack Gulla made his first touchdown of the game. Portesi made a strong extra point kick, tying

Mack Gulla making his way to the end zone for a touchdown (Photo courtesy of Sammy Patel)

the Franklin Panthers up 14-14 with the Springfield Eagles. Whenever Franklin caught up, Springfield would make sure that the Eagles stayed in the lead. The Eagles closed out the 1st quarter with yet another touchdown and a successful 2 point conversion. The score going into the 2nd quarter was 14-22, Franklin just 1 touchdown behind.

The second quarter started with a powerful fight from both teams. Springfield took charge with their 4th touchdown of the game, as well as a successful 2 point conversion. Following that, WR Will Tracey showed the Eagles that the Panthers were not giving up without a fight. Tracy caught a strong 6-yard touchdown pass from QB Jared Arone at the corner of the end zone, but the Eagles answered back with another touchdown and a good 2 point conversion. The game of tug a war continued, when Mack Gulla was able to bulldoze his way into the end zone, from the 1-yard line, to get a touchdown. This play only came after Arone and Kindred pushed their way down the field, making 11 plays in under 2 minutes, leaving a nice pathway for Gulla to score a touchdown. Unfortunately for Franklin, the extra point kick made by Portesi was blocked by Springfield. The score going into the second half of the game was 27-38, with Springfield still in the lead.

The start of the second half was the most stressful time for everyone watching, leaving the crowd on the edge of their seats. Both teams were getting touchdowns left and right, but Franklin got a head start with Tracy making his 2nd touchdown. The 20-yard touchdown pass from Arone was enough to bring Franklin up 34-38, getting the Panthers fired up. Springfield returned the call 7 plays later with another touchdown, but thanks to Franklin’s defense, was unable to get a 2-point conversion. However, they did get 6 points, keeping them in the lead. One of the highlights of the game was Tracey’s one handed catch. Regardless of the outcome of the game, his insane catch was one of the best plays all season. He left everyone speechless, even the officials who were known for making not some of the greatest calls. The quarter ended with 34-44, Springfield in the lead.

The final quarter of the game was a heartbreaking one. After a series of 1st downs, mainly by Tracey, Gulla was able to slam a 16-yard touchdown on the left side of the end zone, bringing the score close at 41-44. After a series of 2 final touchdowns by the Eagles, the score was getting harder and harder to catch up to. It was clear that Springfield was fast after finishing off with a 35-yard touchdown. The Eagles ended with a total of 60 points, but Franklin was still not done. The Panthers had their final touchdown made by Tracy on 3rd down, Unfortunately, this touchdown was not enough to beat the Springfield Eagles, and the high score ended with 49-60, both teams highest scores of the season.

Coach Bain giving his speech to the players after the game (Photo courtesy of Sammy Patel)

Although Franklin didn’t win, each player showed up in their own way, and made their presence known. Jared Arone threw for 311 yards. The quarterback proved his talent and intelligence throughout the whole game. Additionally, Will Tracey made an insane 14 catches, 113 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The Wide Receiver was shown to be a huge asset and much needed throughout the game. And finally Shane Kindred, the senior that stunned everyone this season. Kindred made a total of 13 catches and 143 yards during this game, and through his incredible speed, was able to continuously keep the Panthers morale high. It would be a disgrace to also not mention Mack Gulla, Ethan Aiello, Cullen Pek, and Joe Tirrell, the captains of the team, as well as every other senior. From the beginning, their dedication and love towards the game was something so strong and easily noticeable. Each senior brought their skill each and every game to make the season a memorable one, so thank you seniors.

Franklin is not done yet. Thanksgiving day they will be facing off against King Philip to see who will be victorious of the Hockomock Title. Get pumped and ready to cheer on the Panthers.