Football Playoffs - Division II, Region 7 First Round

Marion-Franklin 34, Brookhaven 28

Top-seeded Red Devils hold on for win over Bearcats

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Mike Muden/The Columbus Dispatch
Marion-Fanklin's Rasan Harding breaks away from Brookhaven's Blake McEwen on his way to a touchdown.
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The host Marion-Franklin High School football team got a pair of long touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter to rally for a 34-28 victory over Brookhaven in a first-round Division II, Region 7 playoff game.

The victory sends the top-seeded Red Devils into a regional semifinal matchup Friday, Nov. 11, against fourth-seeded Big Walnut, which beat Beechcroft 14-7 in a first-round game.

Marion-Franklin improved to 11-0, while Brookhaven finished 7-4.

“(Brookhaven’s) a heck of a team and we knew it wasn’t over,” Red Devils coach Brian Haffele. “We had to fight through it.”

On Marion-Franklin’s opening drive, quarterback Corry Benson hit Joe Alverson for a 65-yard touchdown pass and then ran in for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

The Bearcats cut it to 8-7 on a 26-yard run by quarterback Tajuan Green with 10 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half. The Red Devils, however, answered on their next drive with a 15-yard touchdown run by Rasan Harding and got another conversion run by Green for a 16-7 lead.

Brookhaven cut it to 16-14 on a 1-yard scoring run by Green on its final first-half possession and then put together a 14-play, 70-yard drive to begin the second half that was capped by a 1-yard scoring run by Green to take its first lead at 21-16.

Marion-Franklin went back ahead at 22-21 on a 3-yard run by Benson but missed the two-point conversion with 8:21 remaining and used that momentum gained from the touchdown to take control.

With 5:50 remaining, Alverson ran for a 65-yard touchdown, and Da’Shawn Thorpe scored on a 36-yard interception return on the next play from scrimmage with 5:27 to go to give Marion-Franklin a 34-21 lead.

Brookhaven cut it to 34-28 on a 1-yard run by Green with 3:16 remaining, but the Red Devils got two first downs on their final possession to seal the win.

“I’ve got to give credit to the line for opening up the hole,” Alverson said of his long scoring run that featured the blocking of Keith Hackworth and Damon Dillard. “We stayed together and pulled together as a team.”

Green finished with 127 yards rushing but had just 21 during the second half. He went down with an injury during one series in the third quarter before returning.

Benson passed for 204 yards for the Red Devils.
“They made the big plays when they needed to,” Brookhaven coach Trevor White said.

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BROOKHAVEN 0 14 7 7 -- 28
MARION-FRANKLIN 8 8 0 18 -- 34

MF--Alverson 51 pass from Benson (Benson run)

B--Green 26 run (Kamara kick)

MF--Harding 15 run (Benson run)

B--Green 1 run (Kamara kick)

B--Green 1 run (Kamara kick)

MF--Benson 3 run (run failed)

MF--Alverson 65 run (pass failed)

MF--Thorpe 36 interception return (pass failed)

B--Green 1 run (Kamara kick)

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