The Franklin Wildcats’ varsity football team earned its biggest win of the season this past Friday evening with a 14-7 victory at Cosumnes Oaks inside Wolfpack Stadium.
After a scoreless first half that featured two tough defenses, Franklin (3-4 overall, 1-2 Delta League) wore down Cosumnes Oaks (6-2 overall, 4-1 Delta League) with a productive rushing attack in the second half. Wildcat senior tailback/linebacker Reagan Fonbuena put up the first points of the contest with a five-yard scoring run early in the third quarter.
Franklin would take a two touchdown lead midway through the fourth quarter after junior tailback DJ Stamps crossed the goal line from six yards out, with what would prove to be the winning score for the Wildcats, who were led by a stable of ball carriers and a suffocating defensive effort.
The Wildcats would stymie the typically potent Wolfpack offense throughout the contest until late in the fourth quarter, when Wolfpack junior quarterback Anthony Grigsby Jr. connected on a 27 yard touchdown strike with senior wideout Ishmael Rehberg to close the gap to within seven points, with four minutes remaining.
But as they’ve done all season long, Franklin relied on their ground game as they compiled multiple first downs to run out the clock and seal the win over their biggest rival.
“It felt pretty damn good,” Wildcats’ head coach Evan Boylan said of how he and his team felt after the big win. “It was one of those special nights where you just feel really happy for the kids. All of us, as coaches, that’s what we want. We want the kids to get to experience nights like that.”
Stamps led Franklin offensively with 13 carries for 56 yards and his fourth quarter scoring scamper, and was joined by four other ball carriers (senior Josiah Allen, junior Ian Charles, and Fonbuena) en route to 176 total yards on the ground. In addition to his touchdown run in the third quarter, Fonbuena was even more impactful on the defensive side of the ball, tallying three sacks.
“He’s our leader in the classroom, he’s our leader on offense, and he’s our leader on defense,” Boylan said of Fonbuena. “He’s a special kid. He’s putting in the time studying opponents, he knows tendencies, and he’s a kid who just really studies the game, and I love coaching guys like that.”
For Cosumnes Oaks, the loss is their first in league competition this season. Aside from the touchdown pass from Grigsby Jr. to Rehberg, Wolfpack head coach Andrew Bettencourt admitted his team didn’t play a collectively great game.
“Overall we didn’t play our best,” he said. “But hats off to Franklin. They came out with a good game plan, they played physical, and they were the better team.”
Cosumnes Oaks will head into its bye week with extra time to prepare for a huge showdown at Elk Grove on Oct. 25, in a game that could very well determine who wins the Delta League title this season. For Bettencourt, the break presents a good opportunity.
“It’s like training camp almost,” he said. “They (the players) know that we need to have an intense week. They know that we need to turn the intensity up, work out extra hard, and go back to building that grit. We need to preach our physicality and go old school with it. Things are fixable after the last game, and this gives us time to fix the things we need to fix.”
Franklin will host Elk Grove at Cosumnes Oaks High School this Friday at 7:15 p.m. in a critical showdown. The Wildcats, still riding the wave of their satisfying victory, know the importance of this part of their schedule.
“It was big for us because that is the biggest game of the year for us, the rivalry game,” Boylan said of their win over the Wolfpack. “That was great for us to get that league win, now we have to get back to work and move on because we’re going into a tough stretch here with Elk Grove and Davis coming up.”