Two City League football teams with a history of playoff success and playoff aspirations this season met Aug. 24 when Marion-Franklin traveled to Brookhaven and came away with a 20-14 victory.
The Red Devils have now defeated the Bearcats three times in three games since the start of last season, by a total of 13 points.
Marion-Franklin led 20-6 early in the fourth quarter, but Brookhaven rallied and had a chance to tie or take the lead late in the game before Marion Franklin defensive back Joe Alverson intercepted backup quarterback Jalen Bonner at the 2-yard line with 15 seconds remaining.
“I saw the ball and jumped. I just wanted to make the play,” Alverson said. “We stuck together and played as a team and fought to the end.”
Two plays earlier, Bonner completed a 7-yard pass for an apparent touchdown which would have tied the game, but Kevin Greenhow -- the Bearcats’ starting quarterback -- was called for offensive pass interference.
“Our defense played well, but there are a lot of things we still have to clean up,” Marion Franklin coach Brian Haffele said. “It could have gone either way.”
Marion-Franklin quarterback Corry Benson ran for a 2-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give his team a 20-6 lead. A 55-yard pass to Alverson on the previous play had set up the score.
Marion-Franklin defensive back Darien Williams returned a fumbled snap 30 yards for a touchdown late in the first half for 14-0 advantage.
Benson, who accounted for 3,512 yards of offense and 48 touchdowns last season, was sacked three times and held to just 44 total yards in the first half. He finished with 35 yards rushing and was 4-for-16 passing for 106 yards.
Brookhaven’s Greenhow was sacked six times and finished with minus-15 yards rushing, but was 9-for-28 passing for 203 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
Greenhow threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Clevis Towns late in the first half for the Bearcats’ first score, and his 22-yard scoring pass to Leitonn Backus with 2:58 made it 20-14.
The Red Devils scored first, aided by three penalties for 35 yards against the Bearcats. Alverson ran right for a 10-yard touchdown two minutes into the game. The Red Devils defeated the Bearcats twice last season, 28-27 in week one and 34-28 in a first-round playoff game on the way to a 13-1 season.
MF—Alverson 10 run (Benson run)
MF—Williams 30 fumble return (run failed)
B—Towns 42 pass from Greenhow (run failed)
MF—Benson 2 run (run failed)
B—Backus 22 pass from Greenhow (Broomfield pass from Greenhow)