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FHS Football Warriors Open Season With Thrilling Come-From-Behind Victory

Franklin High School’s Quasim Ashford sprints into the end zone with less than two minutes to play in the Warriors’ 7-6 win over the Edison Eagles on October 3 in Middlebush Park.

With less then two minutes to play in their game against the Franklin High School Warriors at Middlebush Park, the Edison Eagles looked as though they would hang on to a one-touchdown victory.

But Warrior quarterback Jeremiah Morgan and running back Quasim Ashford had something to say about that.

Down 6-0 since the second quarter, Franklin was the beneficiary of a poor punt from deep in Eagles territory that spotted the ball at the Eagles’ 36 yard line with 2:04 left to play.

Morgan, a junior making his first varsity start at QB, set up in the shotgun on the next play, but had no one open.

Taking the ball down the sideline, Morgan covered 26 yards before being forced out-of-bounds, giving the Warriors a first down at the Eagles’ 10 yard line.

On the next play, junior running back Ashwani Stuart took a hand-off and powered through to the six yard line before he was brought down.

With 1:47 left, Morgan handed off to sophomore running back Ashford, who at first tried to go to his right but found a wall of players in his way.

Bouncing to his left, Ashford found a hole and scampered the six yards to the end zone.

A good extra point by Fher Lujan gave the Warriors a 7-6 lead, which would prove to be the game-winner.

The extra point played a key role in this game, as Franklin was able to block Edison’s attempt at an extra point earlier in the second quarter.

Taking possession with about 1:38 left in the game, Edison’s best attempt to pull the game out ended with an intercepted pass by Da Shawn Parks-Clark, who ran the ball back from deep in their own territory to the Eagles’ 25 yard line.

Warriors head coach John Paczkowski credited the win to his young squad playing as a team.

“They could have easily packed it in quick, but they didn’t,” he said. I’m very proud of them, as young as they are, that they stuck together and took a great step forward.”

Paczkowski said the plan for the game was “no different than any other week, we see what the opponent gives us and try to create mismatches.”

“This week, they won on heart by playing together,” he said.

No one stood out,” Paczkowski said. “We didn’t have one running back go for 300 yards or anything, but by committee, everyone did their job and they did their individual job well.”

The game was played at Middlebush Park because upgrades to Warrior Stadium’s field are not yet complete.

The Warriors have a bye week next week, after which they take on Sayreville away on October 16.

On October 24, the Warriors welcome the New Brunswick Zebras, then travel to North Brunswick on October 30 before ending the regular Covid-19-shortened season on November 6, at home against Perth Amboy.

Here are some scenes from the game:

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