Willow School edges Sophie B. Wright, 21-18

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Recap: WILLOW 21, WRIGHT 18

The Willow School held off a late charge by Sophie B. Wright in a 21-18 victory Friday at Pan American Stadium.

The Willow School freshman running back Darryl Franklin gave a preview of his barrage of big plays in the first quarte. Franklin fielded a punt at his own 34-yard line and broke free down the sideline before being caught by the Warriors player at the 5-yard line.

The return was called back due to an illegal block in the back but Franklin made his mark later in the contest. The Lions started at the Warriors 49-yard line but couldn’t capitalize on the good field position and went 3-and-out.

On Sophie B. Wright’s first possession, senior running back Danny Francis broke off a 12-yard run to give the Warriors the ball at midfield. A 15-yard penalty on Willow put the ball at the 35-yard line. The Warriors couldn’t take advantage of the good field position either and turned it over on downs after junior quarterback Paul Chester was sacked by seniors Jack Trotter and Graham Williams on fourth and 12 from the Lions 27-yard line.

The Warriors once again had the ball deep in Lions territory after an 8-yard run by senior Osirin Scott followed by a personal foul on the Lions. On 3rd and 11, Paul Chester connected with Scott on a 17-yard pass to give them the ball at the Willow 25-yard line. The Warriors moved the ball down to the Lions 17-yard line but on 3rd and 2, Paul Chester fumbled the ball and Willow’s Christopher Boudy recovered the fumble.

Willow wasted no time going down the field as junior quarterback Jacob Guichet dumped a pass to Franklin, who took it 43 yards into Warriors territory.

Facing a 4th and 9 from the Warriors 33-yard line, freshman receiver Ahmad Vappie came up with his first of two clutch catches as he hauled in an 11-yard pass for a first down. On the next play, senior Zachary Breaux ran it up the gut untouched into the endzone for the first score of the game. The extra point by Madox Maillho made it 7-0 midway through the second quarter and that would be the halftime score.

Midway through the 3rd quarter, the floodgates began to open both ways.

The Warriors strung together a series of 1st downs via a couple of Chester passes and a Bryan Jackson run to put them deep in Lions territory. Avante McKinnis scored on a 4-yard run a few plays later to put the Warriors on the board. The 2-point attempt was no good and Willow’s lead was cut to 7-6.

Willow struck right back after a good Franklin kick return set them up at their own 44-yard line.

A 14-yard rush by sophomore running back Mark Rhodes, Jr. put the Lions in Warriors territory. On the very next play, Guichet lobbed up a pass to Franklin who scampered into the endzone for his first score of the game on a 44-yard touchdown reception. Maillho converted the extra point to make it 14-6.

Sophie B. Wright answered on their first possession of the fourth quarter with McKinnis getting his second score of the game on a 56-yard touchdown run. The 2-point attempt failed and Willow had a 14-12 with 4:28 left in the game.

Willow quickly responded once again. Guichet dumped a screen pass to Franklin, who took it 77 yards for his second score of the game and it was 21-12 with 3:23 left in the game.

Franklin finished with 178 yards receiving on four catches and two touchdowns. He had 266 all purpose yards. Guichet finished 11 of 23 for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophie B. Wright did not go away, fighting back as Chester completed passes of 8, 30, and 23 yards to put the Warriors at the Willow 11-yard line. McKinnis tallied his third score of the game on a 3-yard touchdown run as he took the direct snap from under center and it was 21-18 with 1:48 to play in the game. McKinnis finished with nine rushes for 85 yards and three touchdowns.

After a successful onside kick that was recovered by Jarius Stewat, the Warriors took over at their own 47-yard line with under two minutes left. Chester connected with Dallas Hughes on a 25-yard pass to put them at the Lions 28-yard line. On the next play, Graham Williams sacked Chester for a 7-yard loss. Williams had 3 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the night.

A 3-yard scramble by Chester on 2nd down was followed an 8-yard pass to Danny Francis on 3rd down. On 4th and 6 at the Willow 24-yard line, Chester tossed a ball toward the end zone but it was picked off by sophomore Tyrell Johnson at the 2-yard line and he returned it 31 yards to the 33-yard line to seal the win for the Lions

Chester finished 12-of-21 for 147 yards and a touchdown with an interception.

The Willow School (2-1) will travel to Capitol next Friday while Sophie B. Wright (2-1) heads to Hoss Memtsas Stadium next Saturday to take on Higgins.

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