TAUNTON, Mass. – In a game that came down to the last second, Franklin took a big hit in a divisional loss last night against Taunton. The Panthers led at the half and ended up losing by one point. Taunton had their first-ever Hockomock League win beating Franklin 28-27.
The Panthers entered into the game in a tie for first place in the division. With Mansfield also losing last night, there is sure to be an interesting playoff season. Taunton is now 2-6 overall.
The game was scoreless in the first quarter. Franklin started the second quarter with a strong running game. With 9:22 left in the quarter, Franklin Quarterback Nick Zucco ran the ball in for a touchdown. Mike Carden completed the play with a PAT. The Tigers took possession of the ball but that was stopped quickly on an interception by senior Kyle Finamore. The Panthers took advantage of the interception with Finamore scoring on a 23-yard run into the end zone after a pitch left from Zucco. The extra point was no good.
With 2:29 left until the half, Taunton had a 25-yard kick-off return placing the Tigers in position for some great sweeps and an eventual QB keeper into the end zone making the score 13-13. The extra point kick attempt failed but the Tigers were able to run it in for two points. Franklin answered back with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Zucco to Brandon Eccher. Zucco ran the ball in for two points. That ended the first half with a score of Franklin 21, Taunton 15.
The third quarter began with a touchdown run by Taunton’s Domingo Jenkins. Zucco quickly connected with Eccher again for a 50-yard touchdown pass bringing the score to Franklin 27, Taunton 21. The intense fourth quarter began with a great drive down the field by Taunton. Starting at its own 20-yard line, Taunton drove the ball 80 yards and converted three first downs. With 42 seconds on the clock, Taunton’s Jenkins ran 5-yards into the end zone bringing the score to 28-27.
With 14 seconds left on the clock, Franklin was set up at the Taunton 43-yard line after a personal foul call against Taunton on the touchdown and a strong kickoff return by Franklin’s Finamore. Zucco connected with Eccher on the fourth down but was stopped short of a first down. Taunton was ready to kill the clock, but it was mismanaged and left one second for Franklin to try one play. Franklin’s Carden set up for the 55-yard attempt, but it failed, giving Taunton a one point win.