Oh how I wish I could have ranked this item higher on my list.
Unfortunately the Cinderella story for the 2016 Franklin High School football team struck midnight in the second half of the WIAA Division 1 state championship game against mighty Kimberly.
Before we get ahead of ourselves we must understand go through the process that made Franklin’s path to the state title game such an amazing run.
Saber fans will long remember the 2015 Franklin squad that was arguably the best team and the best collection of talented players in the school’s history. And it didn’t even make it to Madison for a chance at a championship, losing a devastating last second heart-breaker to Hartland Arrowhead. The vast majority of Franklin’s starters from that team graduated. The team lost a total of 28 seniors leaving head coach Louis Brown to wonder about the challenges ahead prior to the 2016 schedule.
“Yep, there are a lot of fresh faces out here,” Brown told mysouthnow.com. “The handful of kids who we have back are really good, so we do have some talent. It’s just a matter of finding others to fit in.”
Photo: NOW media
On August 19, the Sabers opened their season with a 22-13 loss at Mukwonago. Franklin then went on a long, long winning streak.
Joliet Catholic (Illinois), Racine Case, Kenosha Bradford, Oak Creek, Racine Horlick, Kensoha Indian Trail, Racine Park and Kenosha Tremper all fell to what was becoming a scary good Sabers team.
The average winning score in those games was 33-13.
Then came the playoffs.
Milwaukee Hamilton, predictably was over-matched.
Oak Creek again?
Sabers win, 31-28.
Marquette University High School.
Chalk up another victory, 45-23.
Now the Sabers had to get through Lake Geneva Badger for the opportunity to go to Madison and state. The date, November 11. The site, Kenosha Bradford.
Back in August no one saw a trip to the final game for Franklin. And yet against all odds, here they were with their ticket punched for Madison.
The Sabers’ opponent was a true buzzsaw.
“The nice thing about this is that we’ve got everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. We’ll enter this game loose; we won’t be uptight at all. I tell you one thing, we’re not afraid of them. We’ve wanted to play them for a lot of years. We know how hard they work in the offseason. In that way, they’re a little bit like us.”
Franklin head coach Louis Brown in an interview with mysouthnow.com
Friday afternoon, November 18. Camp Randall Stadium.
Despite the disappointing defeat Franklin displayed one of the classiest gestures you’ll ever see in a high school sport.
Coach Brown was named Coach of the Year by the Journal Sentinel.
Hawk Wimmer made the All-State first team on defense (Lineman).
Latron Kirk-Sprewer made honorable mention on defense (End).
Max Alba, jr.made All-State honorable mention on offense (Quarterback).
The selections were made by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.
2016 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Franklin. I doubt that will be the case in 2017.
THE TOP 10 FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2016