Jason Franks knew what he had to do and was willing to sacrifice his body to do it.
The senior running back juked, banged and barreled his way to the end zone for the go-ahead 36-yard run with 6 minutes, 44 seconds to play as the Grandview High School football team rallied from a 23-point deficit for a 37-33 win over host West Jefferson on Friday, Sept. 16, in the MSL-Cardinal opener for both teams.
“I just couldn’t give up and I just didn’t care if I was going to be beaten up and hurting in the morning,” said Franks, who finished with 115 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. “We had been beaten by (West Jefferson) so many times and I was tired of it. We were all tired of it. I wasn’t going to stop until I reached the end zone.”
It was Grandview’s first victory in the six meetings between the schools since West Jefferson joined the MSL-Cardinal in 2006. It was only the second league game lost by the Roughriders in that span. The other was a 26-21 setback to Harvest Prep in 2008, also at home.
The Bobcats improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1987 by rallying after Tommy Blair put West Jefferson up 33-10 with a 26-yard run on the opening drive of the second half.
“That’s the thing about this team -- they never quit,” Grandview coach Jason Peters said. “I have been around football all of my life and I’ve never been more proud of a team than this group. They never gave up.”
The rally started when the Bobcats’ Luke Miller recovered a Jason Hatfield fumble at the West Jefferson 37-yard line with 3:59 to play in the third. Quarterback Oliver Rouch connected on the next play with Payton Jones on a 24-yard reception to the 13. Three plays later, Franks scored on a 6-yard run and Rouch added a two-point conversion run for a 33-18 deficit with 2:54 left in the third.
West Jefferson quarterback Cody Williams was injured on a 40-yard run to the Grandview 17 with 1:30 left in the third quarter. Four plays later, Jones blocked a Steven Lollo 38-yard field goal attempt with 45 seconds left in the third. The Roughriders had only six yards and one first down after Williams’ departure with an ankle injury.
“(The injury) hurt us, but you can’t blame (the outcome) on that,” said West Jefferson coach Shawn Buescher, whose team dropped to 3-1. “We just had too many turnovers and that will be the difference every time.”
West Jefferson had two fumbles, one fumbled punt and an interception, and the Roughriders failed to recover a Grandview onside kick.
Grandview’s Tyler Mosier caught a pass from Rouch near the Grandview 45 and raced to the end zone for an 86-yard score with 11:16 left in the fourth. Bobcats kicker Dakota Williams then lofted an onside kick near the West Jefferson bench that was recovered by Nick Schopis at the Roughriders’ 36 to set up a 6-yard run by Rouch and pull Grandview within 33-31 with 9:17 to play.
“We were down at half, but we had a whole half to play,” said Rouch, who finished 6-for-12 passing for 138 yards, including 4-for-7 for 107 yards and a touchdown in the fourth. “You have to believe in your teammates and that they can make the plays. We all believe in each other.”
Andy Treasure then recovered a fumble by West Jefferson backup quarterback Hayden Murry with 7:43 to play to set up the go-ahead score by Franks.
Andy Nocar intercepted Murry with 1:39 remaining to secure the victory.
Grandview led 10-6 with two minutes left in the second quarter, but West Jefferson scored three touchdowns before halftime. Chaney Fulton had a 3-yard run with 1:56 remaining in the half, but Lollo missed the extra point. On the next play from scrimmage, Roughriders defender David Kelly intercepted a pressured Rouch and returned it 12 yards for a score with 1:48 left in the second.
After a Grandview punt, Williams passed the Roughriders downfield with the drive ending with a 35-yard scoring pass to Ryan Love and a 26-10 lead at halftime. Williams finished 8-for-10 for 144 yards and rushed for 97 yards on eight carries.
“That interception was pretty much the same thing that happened to us last year, pretty much the same play even,” said Rouch, who also rushed 19 times for 56 yards. “But this time we were able to put it all behind us and come back. This is a really big win.”
GRANDVIEW 10 0 8 19 -- 37
WEST JEFFERSON 6 20 7 0 -- 33
G--Williams 28 FG
WJ--Josh Hatfield 2 run (kick blocked)
G--Franks 27 run (Williams kick)
WJ--C. Fulton 3 run (kick failed)
WJ--Kelly 13 interception return (Lollo kick)
WJ--Love 35 pass from Williams (Lollo kick)
WJ--Blair 26 run (Lollo kick)
G--Franks 6 run (Rouch run)
G--Mosier 84 pass from Rouch (Williams kick)
G--Rouch 6 run (run failed)
G--Franks 36 run (run failed)