High School Sports

Granville Central grinds out win against Franklinton football

Granville Central’s Jay Parker (5) throws downfield as Franklinton's Christian Rogers (89) runs in during the Granville Central High School football game against Franklinton High School, September,28, 2015 in , N.C. The score was 0-0 at the half.
Granville Central’s Jay Parker (5) throws downfield as Franklinton's Christian Rogers (89) runs in during the Granville Central High School football game against Franklinton High School, September,28, 2015 in , N.C. The score was 0-0 at the half. newsobserver.com

Given the high-scoring history between the offensive-minded clubs, it was almost unfathomable to think that Granville Central and Franklinton would not even reach double digits during Monday’s non-conference football contest.

But that scenario played out at visiting Granville Central rallied with a fourth-quarter touchdown to spoil the Red Rams’ homecoming with a 7-6 victory.

“I expected both teams to be in the 20s or 30s,’’ said Granville Central (3-2) quarterback Jay Parker, who dove in from the 1-yard line with 9:59 remaining in the game to even the score. “We drove the ball but made some mistakes. Our defense really stepped up for us. I certainly didn’t think it would be like this.’’

Neither club scored in the first half, but Franklinton (3-3) went ahead in the third frame courtesy of a pair of field goals from Jordan Vitale.

GC then countered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that saw Parker run or throw on all but two of the snaps. Following Parker’s touchdown, the Panthers went ahead for good on Zach Cantaffa’s PAT.

Turning point

After failing to capitalize on several opportunities, Granville Central finally cashed in early in the fourth period. Even after the touchdown, the score was tied – and rain was falling. Cantaffa calmly sent his conversion through the uprights to cap off the Panthers’ effective march.

They said it

“We’ve had shootouts with Franklinton the last two years,’’ said Central coach John Hammett. “You have two good offenses here,but the weather was a factor, and it’s a Monday night.’’

Three who mattered

Jay Parker, Granville Central: The Panthers’ do-it-all senior quarterback, a four-year starter, rushed for 109 yards and threw for 121 yards while effectively directing GC’s offense.

Tony Lyons, Granville Central: Lyons made his first career catch one to remember as he hauled in a 28-yard pass as the key play of Granville Central’s decisive scoring drive.

“Tony had dropped a big pass last week, and he felt terrible about it,’’ Hammett said. “He gave us a huge lift this week.’’

Jordan Vitale, Franklinton: The Red Rams’ first-year kicker nailed third-period attempts from 23 and 32 yards to give Franklinton the lead. His second attempt hit the front of the crossbar and somehow bounced over.

By the numbers

5: The number of offensive plays from Granville Central that didn’t involve a run or pass from Parker.

51-42: The score of last year’s game between the clubs -- quite a contrast to Monday’s showdown.

6: The number of yards Franklinton was able to pass for on the slippery night.

222: The yards Franklnton’s Tyreese Williams (98) and Ricky Person (124) combined to rush for.

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