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Photos by Marcos Romero Turner - MRT Photography

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Franklin Rolls to an Undefeated 3-0 Start and League Play Kicks Off Across the PIL

September 19, 2023 by Reid Tingley

In the highest-profile matchup, the Cleveland Warriors hosted the Franklin Lightning in a showdown between the PIL’s two undefeated teams. Things started fast for Franklin on the road as they took the early 7-0 lead. Then a fake punt went arry on 4th down for the Warriors to give Franklin the ball back. Facing their own 4th down decision, senior Franklin quarterback Will Reid read the defense and found senior receiver Max Wallace open for a touchdown. 

Cleveland got the ball down 22-0 to open the 3rd quarter. The Warriors showed impressive resolve on a must-score drive. Junior running back Max Copus broke off a 40-yard run to get the Cleveland offense rolling, and then punched it in a few plays later for the touchdown on 4th & 1, to cut the score to 22-6. 

The Cleveland defense held tight initially, pushing Franklin back to a 2nd & 21 from their own 10. Then Will Reid hit junior receiver Cash Lindau down the sideline for a big play to spark a Franklin touchdown drive. Reid and Lindau would connect again before the end of the 3rd quarter on an 85-yard touchdown pass to take a commanding 35-6 lead and put this game out of reach. Franklin left the night 3-0 on the season, as the PIL’s lone undefeated team.

Jefferson hosted Roosevelt in another tightly contested matchup. The Democrats took a 12-0 lead at halftime, but in the 2nd half Roosevelt's defensive line settled in to control the run game and junior Jamarrion Causey came up with a big interception to put Roosevelt in scoring position. From there, the Roughriders let junior running back Dontrelle Betts, who finished the night with 30 carries for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns, take over to lead Roosevelt to a 13-12 come-from-behind win. 

Elsewhere in the PIL, McDaniel hosted Lincoln. The Cardinals steadily controlled the game into the 4th quarter and built a 19-0 lead on a touchdown catch from Emmett Togni. With just under five minutes to go, McDaniel got on the board with a 42-yard touchdown catch from freshman Dontae Stidum Jr. The Mountain Lions followed it up with an interception from another freshman, Johnny Gayton, and a quick touchdown drive capped off by senior running back Brandon Kyle. Ultimately, the comeback bid would fall short as Lincoln ran out the ball to close out the 19-14 victory. 

On the west side, Ida B. Wells notched an impressive 30-21 victory over last year’s PIL State Playoff representative Grant. Led by a strong run game, the Guardians built a 24-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter and were able to keep the Generals at distance the rest of the way.