BACKFIELD MATES. Franklinton quarterback Matthew Ray (right) runs with the ball as teammate Anterious Williams looks for a Fike defender to block during Friday's Big East Conference football matchup on the FHS campus. (Times photo by Geoff Neville
FRANKLINTON -- For much of the game, the end zone seemed like the forbidden zone for Franklinton and Wilson Fike during Friday's Big East Conference football showdown.
Both clubs made numerous trips inside the opposing 20, but would eventually be thwarted by turnovers or yellow flags as part of the sloppy, penalty-filled outing.
But when they needed it most, the visiting Golden Demons were able to come up with a clutch scoring drive in the fourth quarter to seal the victory and hold off the Red Rams by a 21-6 margin at the FHS Football Field.
Fike, coached by Tom Nelson, is now 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the Big East, while FHS is 2-6 and 0-2 -- and on a six-game losing skein.
When the teams met last season, Franklinton produced one of the most glorious highlights of its campaign by rallying from a huge deficit to stun the Demons in Wilson.
The Red Rams set up a similar potential repeat scenario Friday, but Fike was determined to make sure that history didn't repeat itself.
The Golden Demons scored on their first possession courtesy of a 17-yard TD scamper from Tyrikk Hines and would find the end zone later in the opening half on a 20-yard touchdown keeper from Demari Daniels off a fourth-and-19 situation.
Franklinton, however, was stern defensively for most of the matchup, and the Red Rams would keep the Demons from scoring again until the fourth frame. FHS' defense made two huge fourth-down stands and came up with interceptions courtesy of Joseph Murphy and Lyeshon Parker to end Demons' drives. Franklinton also thwarted a fake punt attempt as Daniels was stopped two yards short of the sticks in the first period.
But FHS could not take advantage of any of those doses of heroics and went to the break trailing by a 14-0 total.
That trend continued when Franklinton put together a nice drive to begin the second half, thanks in part to a nifty 30-yard QB bolt from Parker.
The drive would close with a Fike stop on downs at the 8, but FHS quickly returned the favor and forced a punt that would travel just 11 yards.
Blessed with quality field position at the Demons' 19-yard line, the Red Rams cashed in as Parker kept it himself on a 3-yard TD keeper, and Coach Jimmy Williams' squad had another comeback in mind, trailing 14-6 with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Franklinton had a chance, but Fike wasn't about to let this one slip away as the Demons turned to their ground game -- and were rewarded on Curtis Bullock's 3-yard touchdown dive that all but sealed the deal at 21-6 with just 6:23 left.
FHS will remain at home next Friday and will seek its first Big East victory against a much-improved Northern Nash club. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.