Last November. Franklin vs. Sun Prairie..
Franklin won the state title, 38-17.
Saber fans have been spoiled. Real spoiled for a long, long time. But defending a state championship is extremely difficult, no matter the team. Especially when there’s the real possibility Franklin won’t get to see a home playoff game this year.
Franklin begins its post-season play tonight at Racine Horlick, who they beat on September 30th 17-6. Both teams are 7-2 on the season.
Here’s a preview from the Racine Journal Times:
WHAT TO WATCH:
Horlick had a respectable performance in a 17-6 loss to Franklin Sept. 30 at Horlick Field. The two teams return to Horlick Field for a rematch Friday with their respective seasons on the line.
Franklin lost some frontline talent from its 2021 WIAA Division 1 championship team, especially quarterback Myles Burkett, voted the state’s player of the year that season. He now backs up Graham Mertz at Wisconsin. But the Sabers are still a force and they have had plenty of success over Horlick during the last decade.
Starting with the 2009 season, Franklin has a 12-1 record against Horlick. The Rebels’ only victory during that stretch came in 2017, when they won 21-7 and went on the win the Southeast Conference championship.
For Horlick to win Friday night, it will likely need ample production from its running game, on which its offense is based. Quarterback Blake Fletcher leads the Rebels with 723 yards, followed by Deshon Griffin (674), Reggie Hubbard (408), Anthony Liggins (333) and Carson Fletcher (299).
But Horlick coach Brian Fletcher also won’t hesitate to tap into his passing game, as he has demonstrated. In the first meeting against Franklin, Blake Fletcher — Brian’s son — attempted a season-high 22 points, but was hindered by two interceptions and several dropped passes.
“There were things we thought were open in the passing game the last time we played them,” Brian Fletcher said. “I think we were 9 for 22 throwing the ball, which is probably the most we’ve thrown in a long time. At the same time, we had close to double-digit drops. We want to be efficient in the passing game and we were not efficient the last time we played them.”
Franklin answers with an offense led by running back Terrance Shelton (896 yards, 17 TDs) and quarterback Joseph Kallay (1,183 yards, 8 TDs). When the two teams met earlier this season, Kallay completed 20 of 28 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s a tremendous athlete and played a great game against us,” Fletcher said. “We really weren’t sure how good he was as a passer and he did a great job. He made us pay several times.”
Should Franklin defeat Horlick it will probably face #1 seed Muskego at Muskego next Friday. Muskego, one of the best teams in our area, is almost a lock to knock off Kenosha Indian Trail tonight to advance in Division 1.
Let’s do it Franklin!