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Photo Gallery: FHS Football Warriors Gain First Win With Stunning Upset Over Elizabeth

FHS Warriors players and coaches react Oct. 12 after they beat Elizabeth, 28-21.


The Franklin High School football Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak in a big way Oct. 12, scoring a stunning 28-21 victory over the Elizabeth Minutemen.

Senior running back Isiah Solomon contributed two of the Warrior’s four touchdowns, including a 76-yard run down the sideline that gave Franklin a 28-14 lead.

“I thought I was going to have to go out of bounds, but I saw green and I just kept going,” he said after the game.

The Warriors came into the game 0-5 on the season, and were cast as the underdogs to the 4-1 Minutemen. But a stingy defense kept Elizabeth to two field goals throughout the first two quarters, leading 6-0 when they walked into the locker room at halftime.

Franklin’s defense would end up causing five turnovers by the end of the game, and stopped the Minutemen’s advance deep into Warrior territory to seal the win.

Whatever Warrior coach John Paczkowski said to his players during halftime clicked, because the Warriors’ offense came out to play in the second half.

With about 10 minutes left in the third quarter, on third and long, quarterback Kevon Gordon lofted one deep and found wide receiver Shekuna Kamara, resulting in an 80-yard touchdown reception.

More importantly, that gave the Warriors a 7-6 lead, which they wold not relinquish.

The Warriors found the end zone again, with about two minutes left in the game, in the form of a 21-yard run on second and seven by Solomon, his first of the evening. That put the Warriors up 14-6, which is how the third quarter ended.

With a little more than 10 minutes left in the game, defensive back Allieu Conteh intercepted a Minuteman pass and ran it back 35 yards for a touchdown, giving the Warriors a commanding 21-6 lead.

But Elizabeth showed why it’s considered one of the best teams in the state, scoring a touchdown with about 6:39 left in the game. A successful two-point conversion set the score at 21-14, Franklin.

Not to be outdone, Franklin answered with another touchdown, Solomon’s 76-yard scamper. That gave Franklin a 28-14 lead.

Elizabeth cut the lead to seven, scoring with about five minutes left to play.

With just under four minutes left to play, linebacker Kevin Millman recovered a fumble short of the 50-yard line, which was Elizabeth’s fifth turnover of the night.

Franklin could not capitalize on the recover, and punted with about 2:31 left in the game.

This is where it got interesting for Elizabeth and scary for the Warriors.

With just over a minute left to play, Elizabeth broke through with a long gain on fourth and six to bring the ball to Franklin’s 24 yard line, and it seemed as though the momentum had shifted to the Minutemen.

Elizabeth got as close as the 10 yard line, but a grounding call set them back five yards and an incomplete pass in the end zone left them there with five seconds left.

On the last play of the game, Minuteman quarterback Clarence Wilkins could not find an open man, so decided to take it himself and was brought down short of the goal line.

Solomon praised his teammates, especially the linemen, who he said made it possible for him to score twice.

“Coach always says it takes 11 men to move the ball one yard,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The win “feels great, we still have hopes for the playoffs,” Solomon said. “It was great to win this at home because this was out last Friday home game until Thanksgiving.”

The Warriors improve to 1-5 with the win, while Elizabeth drops to 4-2.

Franklin travels to Plainfield next week.

Here are some scenes from the game:

 

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