Franklin Lions vs. Hearne Eagles on Friday, August 25 at 7:00 p.m. in Hearne
They used to be in the same district so there is a familiarity between the two teams despite the fact they are no longer district rivals.
Realignment placed them into separate districts but their close proximity in the county dictates they will always be rivals. Franklin moved up to Division I in Class 3A while the Eagles remained in Division II.
Both teams are picked to make the playoffs in their respective districts. The Eagles are picked 2nd in District 12-3A behind district favorite Buffalo while Franklin is picked 3rd behind favorites Cameron and Rockdale.
The Lions are probably favored in most circles but the Eagles are much improved from two seasons ago. They should have enough speed to test the Lions defense, so it could be a good outing for Franklin who must face the speed of Cameron and Rockdale in district play.
The Lions will continue to work on the execution of their offense with the change in quarterback. The job belongs to Junior Colton Ortner, who has performed admirably thus far but Coach Hedrick is looking for his continued improvement at the helm.
His leadership and ability to efficiently run the Lions veer offense will dictate how far Franklin can advance this season. He should have enough talent in the backfield behind him to make the transition easier.
Fullback Clayton Rosprim and halfbacks Datron Dixon, Jared Pedraza, Nick Lopez, and RaShawn Green should provide plenty of firepower running behind All State tackle Casey Phillips, Clint Duewall, and a strong contingent of returning offensive linemen.
The loss of the versatile Avery Archibald will hurt on both sides of the ball but the Lions should be able to find adequate replacements. The final scrimmage with the Eagles should give them a good test leading into next weeks district opener.