Franklin prevails over Nathan Hale in Metro battle
Franklin defeated Nathan Hale 20-13 Friday night in a Metro League Sound Division game at Seattle Memorial Stadium.
Special to The Seattle Times
Coach Ny'Ika Long hinted in August that he thought he might have the makings of something special at Franklin High School this football season.
You won't get an argument from Nathan Hale coach Hoover Hopkins.
"They are a very good team," Hopkins said after Franklin defeated Nathan Hale 20-13 Friday night in a Metro League Sound Division game at Seattle Memorial Stadium.
"They're very well coached. Their players wanted it badly. I was really impressed."
Franklin (2-1 overall, 1-0 Sound Division) defeated Nathan Hale (2-1, 1-1) for the first time in three seasons in a game between divisional contenders.
Long saw the result and the fashion in which his Franklin team beat Nathan Hale as a testament to the team's improvement.
With rain pouring down on the artificial turf, the Quakers opted to ditch their potent passing attack and keep the ball mostly on the ground.
The Quakers, who passed the ball 70 times in their first two games, put the ball in the air only 11 times against the Raiders.
Running back Dominique Smith carried the ball seven times for 94 yards and quarterback Xavier Conway ran the ball six times for 61 yards and two touchdowns for the Quakers.
Conway's second 15-yard touchdown run of the evening broke a 13-13 tie with just over 7 minutes remaining.
The touchdown was set up by Roger Garrett's 50-yard kickoff return after Nathan Hale tied the score at 13 on Taylor Cassell's 2-yard run.
"We wanted this one," Smith said.
Trailing 20-13, Nathan Hale opted to punt on fourth down and 10 from its 40 and pinned Franklin at its own 7.
Smith's 43-yard run on a reverse on third-and-eight allowed Franklin to run out the clock.
Nick Castoriano was a workhorse for Nathan Hale, running for 90 of the Raiders' 193 yards on the ground. Nathan Hale had no yardage through the air and was intercepted twice.
Franklin got off to a rough start when Nathan Hale's Mike Northridge returned an interception 10 yards for a touchdown to put the Raiders in front 7-0.
But Long, in his third season at Franklin, didn't budge in his belief that the Quakers would rebound fast.
"All the praises go to the coaches and the players for buying into the system," Long said.