By Emma Duncan--Eagle Assistant Editor
It’s game time Eagles!
After waiting months longer than usual to play some ball, the Eagles defended their home field on Thursday, Feb. 25 and beat the Northside Vikings 28-14.
In the same interview, Coach Edwards named RB/LB 10 Jayron Smith, senior, his player of the week for this first game.
"I think my strongest play of the game was when I scored," Smith said regarding why he was nominated for player of the week.
Smith didn't score on his own, though.
“[QB/FS 6, sophomore] Eli Foutz, he is a tower of power at quarterback and, ya know what, Jayron Smith is still hanging around. This young man rivets, pivots and spins for the touchdown. It's 7-7,” John Appicello reported on WSLS 10.
Another one of Coach Edward’s honorable mentions in WFXR’s CRUNCH article was “unsung hero” C/WR/P 5 senior Josh Luckett.
“I think he named me unsung hero because of the plays I made late in the game,” Luckett explained. “My strongest play of the game was the interception I had in the third quarter.”
As Luckett briefly mentioned, he and the rest of the Eagles prevented the Vikings from scoring any more points for some time, and FS/WR 3 junior Anthony Belcher only extended this lead after his touchdown in the second quarter, making the new score 21-7.
"After scoring the touchdown it felt really good, especially since it was the first one of the season," Belcher recalled.
The Vikings scored one final touchdown before the clock ran out, but they weren’t the only team in that boat.
“Northside pulled within 21-14 but this one goes to the Eagles 28-14,” Appicello concluded that Thursday night.
While the Eagles rejoiced a season opening win, one athlete cheered from the sidelines.
"Unfortunately, in the third quarter one of the Northside lineman hit the outside of my left knee and I tore my MCL and my MPFL," DT/C 75 senior Owen Donald explained. "To be honest, I had no idea it was a complete tear, and when the doctor told me I didn’t know how to respond. I had let my team down, the school down, and all of Franklin County down."
Donald said he had anticipated getting back on the field for months prior to their opening game, but one thing he never expected was that that game would be the only one he played this season.
"Even though I’d do anything to play one more game for Franklin County, it isn’t possible," he said with a sigh. "On April 15 I’ll be having surgery to help repair my knee and the recovery time will be about 6 months."
The following week, the Eagles traveled to William Byrd on Friday, March 5 to show the Terriers that Franklin County shouldn’t be underestimated, winning 41-26.
Right out the gate, William Byrd had an early lead, scoring a touchdown after the Eagles fumbled during their opening kickoff, but this wouldn’t last long.
“Eagles offense answers the Terriers on the next drive [when] Eli Foutz [passes] to Jayron Smith, we know all about him. He’s tumbling in at 7-6 Eagles,” John Appicello said on WSLS 10.
The Eagles let Byrd come back slightly after Dylan Hatfield scored a touchdown, but then William Byrd lost control of the ball.
“Byrd was up 20-14 with 90 seconds left in the first half, when a botched handoff put the ball on the turf and [RB/OLB 32, junior] Zac Stafford flew in from off the screen to recover for Franklin County,” Travis Wells reported for WDBJ7.
Even though Luckett scored a touchdown just before halftime, giving the Eagles a one point lead over the Terriers, William Byrd received the 2nd half kickoff, giving them a chance to come back. After getting one first down, the Terriers had to punt.
“The snap sailed high and Franklin County recovered at the Byrd fourteen yard line,” WFXR’s CRUNCH article stated. “After a penalty, and a two yard loss, QB 6 Foutz found WR 5 Luckett for a 21 yard TD reception and K 21 [senior Chandler] Holley’s PAT (extra point) made it 28-20.”
This newfound “dream team” wasn’t stopping there, however, as Foutz assisted Luckett with one more touchdown. The pair scored three times back-to-back that game.
"It always feels great to have a big impact on a game and help your team get the win whether it's scoring or something else," Luckett commented about his and Foutz's performance. "I think we will continue to have games like that as long as we keep pushing and working together."
Smith also got into the action, scoring his second touchdown of the game. The Eagles now led 41-20 with minutes left.
“There was no quit in the Terriers though, and QB 7 Hatfield connected with WR 9 Ethan Tinsley twice for gains of 10 and 11 yards and also with WR 35 Issac Fix for two receptions for 24 yards before scoring his second rushing TD from 4 yards out with 2:51 remaining,” the CRUNCH article explained.
Despite William Byrd’s efforts, Franklin County couldn’t be stopped, winning 41-26.
If this was a regular season, the Friday, March 12 game against Staunton River High School would have been played the night before homecoming. So, to honor tradition, eight seniors were nominated to be a part of the Homecoming Court. After Keely Barkovich and Mason Bolling were crowned homecoming king and queen, it was time for kickoff.
In the first half, it seemed to be anyone’s game, as the score was tied 7-7. However, from this point on, the Eagles spread their wings and flew.
"The Eagles soared behind senior running back Jayron Smith. First an easy 5-yard scamper to re-take the lead. And then in the 2nd, he used a wicked stiff arm to power his way back in," Travis Wells announced on WDBJ7.
RB/OLB 20 sophomore Ke’Shaun Wright scored once more before halftime, only adding to the Eagles' lead.
In the second half, Foutz and Luckett were back at it again, completing a 24 yard touchdown.
As the score was now 45-7 Eagles, it's clear to see Staunton River didn't get much action for most of the game; however, they made some noise before time ran out. But would it be enough?
“Staunton River answered with two touchdowns to finish the game. Austin Powell [is] gonna find the endzone for the score but the Eagles get the win 45-21 behind four total touchdowns from Eli Foutz," Eric Johnson explained on WSLS 10.
After the game, Coach Edwards spoke with WSLS about what this game meant to him.
“We were able to put that first half together and ya know sometimes things go your way sometimes they don't and we were just on the right side of it tonight," he commented. "Just trying to teach these young men that when we do win we try to do it the right way."
Will the Eagles keep their winning streak going for the rest of the season, or have these games been won out of luck?
The Eagles are scheduled to play Northside on Tuesday, March 23 once again. This game was scheduled for March 19, but after Northside had to suspend their season due to COVID-19, the game was postponed. Franklin County will then visit Lord Botetourt on March 26 before returning back to Cy Dillon Stadium where William Fleming will be waiting to play the final game of the season.