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Zane Fox (25) and the rest of the Panther running backs had an effective night against Tuscola’s strong defense. After putting up three touchdowns in the first half, Franklin was scoreless in the second half until Fox picked up a lost fumble on a Tuscola possession to run it back for a touchdown, sealing the win.The Franklin High School Panther's capped off their undefeated season when they travelled to Waynesville Friday night to take on a tough Tuscola football team. The Mountaineers entered the contest with a 8-2 record and proved capable of making the game close when the first quarter ended with a 7-6 score, Franklin in the lead.

By the second quarter, the visitor stands were able to take a sigh of relief as the Panthers went ahead 21-6. The second half of the game would prove to be a defensive showdown with neither team scoring on offense. The Mountaineers put up two more points when they were able to force a safety putting the score at 21-8. Also in a moment where Tuscola looked to threaten, they went for it on fourth and goal. What would have put the Mountaineers within striking distance of the lead instead fell short and FHS took over on downs.

Chance Gibbs runs for a 25-yard touchdown on a pass from quarterback Luke Keener.The teams went back and forth in the fourth quarter, but Franklin sealed the win with a big interception that led to a final touchdown putting the score at 27-8. With the win, the Panthers finish their season with an 11-0 record for only the second time in school history, the other time being in 2011.

With the win, they earn a number one seed and a home field advantage in the first round of the 2A State Playoffs. They will host Parkwood High School Rebels. The Rebels who hail from Monroe, N.C. will enter tomorrow night's game with a 5-6 record. The game with take place at the Panther Pit at 7:30 p.m.

According to the Macon County School Central Office the football team, along with parents and supporters are asking everyone to help support the football team during the playoffs. The are asking those wanting to participate to "paint the town red" this week and for as many weeks as the undefeated team continues to advance in the state playoffs.


Dalton Cochran (11) picks off a Tuscola pass in the fourth quarter, aptly demonstrating the dominance of the FHS defense in the second half. Photos by Travis Tallent


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