FRANKLIN – What a difference a week makes.
Tanner Bullock rushed for a team-high 124 yards and a touchdown Friday in the Panther Pit. And Devin Stepp blocked two punts as West Henderson gave homestanding Franklin its first Western North Carolina Athletic Conference loss since in three years, 26-23.
Stepp’s second block came with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter and was recovered in the end zone for the winning touchdown by Davis Fisher.
The Panthers (7-3, 5-1) had won 21 consecutive WNCAC games dating back to 2012. Even though the Falcons (7-3, 4-2) are one of the league’s better teams, they had lost at home, 21-0, just a week ago to Tuscola.
Tyreke Dunbar also recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown Friday and Saul Montiel hit a 34-yard field goal at the 8:56 mark of the second quarter.
“It was a total team effort,” West Henderson coach Paul Whitaker said.
“Defense, offense, special teams, you name it. It took everybody who was wearing white tonight to win this football game. When you talk about the WNCAC, you know that everything goes through Franklin. They just reload year after year with great coaches and great kids and this year is no different. Our kids really picked it up this week in practice and moved on. It seems like that’s happened with all our losses.”
Kelton Lowry led Franklin with 27 carries for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Even with the loss, the Panthers are still a game up or more on everyone else in the WNCAC with one week to play.
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