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Fels Fells Franklin . . . Over Seven Days
On Nov. 12, Fels
traveled to Franklin's home field, at 29th and Chalmers, for a non-league
football game. With the score at 48-46, in Fels' favor, and with 3:21 remaining, darkness
halted the proceedings. With neither team scheduled to play again until Thanksgiving, a
decision was made to finish the game Nov. 18, again at 29th and Chalmers. Fels scored
eight more points to complete a 56-46 win. Look below for Ted's DN story and website
report, along with the boxscore (and a Franklin team photo).
One problem: They occurred in the scrimmage that followed the game.
Weird led to weirder Thursday as Franklin, the host, and Samuel Fels convened at 29th Street Stadium to complete their nonleague football game that had been halted by darkness last Friday with 3:21 remaining and 94 points already on the scoreboard.
After Fels tallied eight more points to complete its victory, at 56-46, and create a tie for the record for most total points scored in a game involving Public League teams (Fels had fallen to Simon Gratz, 66-36, in its 2010 opener), the teams gathered at the west end of the field for an extended scrimmage.
Only in the Pub. In a good way.
"We're pretending we're Dobbins for them and they're being Frankford for us," said Fels coach Bill Harrigan, referring to Thanksgiving matchups. "Our buses can't come back to get us until 4:30 anyway."
One extra variable: Dobbins' players, though not in pads, were at the east end of the field, preparing for their game tomorrow vs. Archbishop Wood for the Class AAA City Title. They'd watched the Fels-Franklin resumption, which began at 2:30 and lasted 24 minutes, from the stands.
How did it end?
With a 99-yard touchdown! . . . Almost.
From Fels' 10, Franklin's Anwar "Huddy" Mathis tried to hit Jonathan Parker on a quick post. Linebacker John Counts intercepted at the 1 and began to rumble downfield.
If he'd scored, the point total would have been 108, breaking the city record (103) set in 2002 when West Catholic topped St. John Neumann, 55-48, in a Catholic League playoff.
Counts made it to the 14. Mathis (mostly) and running back Crusito Cruz (somewhat) combined for the tackle.
"I ran and ran," Counts said. "I did pretty good, for not being that fast. No one was behind me at first. I kept thinking, 'I've got green [grass]. Keep runnin'. Don't fumble.' I knew they'd be trying to strip the ball."
When Mathis was told his hustle had prevented the final score from reaching epic proportions, he looked disappointed.
"Ah, man," he said. "It did mean a lot to make that tackle, though. I don't usually do that. Only my second tackle of the year. That's a milestone, right there. Once I caught up to him, I was thinking, 'Let me try to get this ball.' But he's pretty strong."
The game was terminated last Friday right after Dontae Bacon led a gaggle of Fels' tacklers in stopping Willie Battle on a conversion run.
"We couldn't see anything," Harrigan said. "That's what Dontae's saying. A couple of his teammates have corroborated that, though."
At the Daily News' suggestion, Pub sports czar Robert Coleman, mindful of its already-legendary status, agreed to let the teams finish the game.
Franklin's Charlie Mills hammered the kickoff high and deep, but the Electrons were called for offsides. A delay followed as Bill Shank, the clock operator, had trouble resetting the time at 3:21 (32 minutes, 10 seconds, would have been great for those hoping to see many more points) and referee Bill Hall kept pointing/waving while saying, "Hold on, that's not right."
Fels quarterback Tyree "Bam" Rucker had already thrown for 324 yards and six TDs, the most in Pub history. Would he immediately go up top and try for No. 7, the city record set in '02 by Germantown Academy's Sean Grieve?
"We had a play called 'recordbreaker' - Bam to Nijay
FELS 56, FRANKLIN 46
Kelly - ready to go for second down," Harrigan said. "But we only were going to use that if the kickoff had us really backed up. Our No. 1 goal was to win. We wanted to keep the ball and work the clock."
Counts churned for 8 yards on first down. Terry "Dark" Brown managed 1, then Rucker was stopped for no gain. Fourth-and-1. No punt. Brown powered to the right side and wound up with a 61-yard TD at 1:22.
Alas, there had been a hold by Counts at the 20. With no timeouts remaining, Franklin coach Desmin Daniels allowed the score to stand and hoped his squad could thwart the conversion, keeping the deficit at eight. However, Brown added two more points on a left-side rumble on which he broke one tackle right away and two more as he neared the corner.
"They tricked us with their running," said Alphonso Poindexter, a Franklin assistant. "We thought they'd go for the passing record."
"The line did the job," Brown said of his TD.
Standing nearby was grunt Imeen Bass.
"That hole opened like the Red Sea!" Bass crowed.
Added Brown: "If we'd lost this game, it would have been terrible. I'm not cocky, but I'm confident. I knew we would win. We played with pride."
Said Counts: "Coming down here and losing this game never entered my mind."
Cruz managed a 20-yard kickoff return for Franklin, then Mathis went 3-for-9 for 29 yards to Parker (2-25) and Michael Edwards (1-14). That last possession included three 5-yard penalties for Fels and one for Franklin. On the next-to-last snap, Parker made a tremendous, diving-backward catch just beyond the right corner of the end zone.
Counting Thursday's 99, the game produced 962 yards from scrimmage. Fels also won that ch-ching contest, 576-386. Rucker remained 14-for-28 for 324 yards and the six TDs, three to Kelly (4-143), two to Jared Hines (4-51) and one to Jamiel Hines, Jared's younger brother. Brown (16-152) and Rucker (11-104) halved two rushing scores.
For Franklin, Mathis passed 11-for-26 for 188 yards and four six-pointers, three to Parker (6-135) and one to Chris Sullivan. Parker also had an interception. Cruz (15-126) and Mathis (15-84, two TDs) led the rushers.
As the players and coaches eased through the postgame handshake line, Harrigan let out a sigh of relief and said to Daniels, "That was more nerve-wracking than a full game would have been." *
Ted's website report . . .
Fels 56, Franklin 46
(Resumption of Game Halted by Darkness on 11/12 With 3:21 Left; at 48-46)
This one ended with what almost became the all-time development. After 102 points had been scored and almost no defense had been played (smile), Fels sr. LB John Counts intercepted a pass on his team’s 1, on the game’s FINAL play, and came oh-so-close to rumbling 99 yards for a TD! Those six points would have lifted the total to 108, of course, and enabled this game to become the highest-scoring in city history, surpassing 103 by West Catholic-Neumann in a 2002 Catholic League playoff (West won, 55-48). The primary tackler on Counts’ return was sr. QB Anwar “Huddy” Mathis (with late help from soph RB Crusito Cruz) and Mathis, who doesn’t play defense, said the stop was just his SECOND of the season. The other had come, he said, in Week Three vs. Dobbins star Terrance Stafford. (Those teams will meet again on Thanksgiving.) I was looking forward to this one with so much nervous anticipation. The clocked dragged big-time today and I wound up arriving so early, no one else was even in 29th Street Stadium. It’s hard to be sure on something like this, but it might have been the first football game in city history to be continued after a stoppage (six days earlier due to darkness). Thanks to Pub sports czar Robert Coleman for agreeing with my assertion that the kids deserved a chance to finish this one. If the score had been outrageously one-sided, OK, no sweat, let it ride. But there was only a two-point difference and all kinds of records were available for smashing/tying. Fels sr. QB Tyree “Bam” Rucker had already thrown for 324 yards and six TDs, most in Pub history. After Fels got the kickoff (the first go-‘round had ended with a TD run by Mathis and unsuccessful conversion run by sr. handyman Willie Battle), would coach Bill Harrigan allow Rucker to fire away? Noooooo. How dare this guy! He wanted to win more than go for records??!! (smile) All things considered, Harrigan’s approach made lots of sense. He stuck with runs and milked the clock, knowing Franklin entered today’s portion of the proceedings with only one timeout remaining. Counts, a sr. FB, ran for eight yards on his first carry in the game. Sr. Terry “Dark” Brown (tackle by jr. DL Demetrius Town) and Rucker (tackle by sr. DL Richard Underwood) were held to one and no yards, respectively, and Franklin coach Desmin Daniels used his last timeout at 1:35. Would Fels punt? Nooooo. The call was a dive right for Brown. And he wound up rumbling 61 yards for a TD! Howevvvvver, there was a holding call at roughly the 20. Didn’t matter. Knowing his team’s only hope was to get the ball back, Daniels declined the penalty and hoped like crazy his squad could D it up on the conversion, keeping the deficit at eight points and leaving the door open for a tie and then OT. Brown also got the call on the two-pointer, on a run to the left. One guy, and then two guys, had decent, even great, opportunities to stop him, but that didn’t happen and he frolicked into the corner of the end zone (at the 29th Street end). Cruz’s 21-yard kickoff return put the ball on Franklin’s 41. All nine plays were passes. Three produced completions. The first two to jr. WR Jonathan Parker for 15 yards and other to WR Michael Edwards (must be new; not sure what grade he’s in) for 14. That placed the ball on the 15. The sequence thereafter: incomplete, incomplete, offsides on Fels, holding on Fels, delay on Franklin, incomplete to the right corner (Parker did make a great catch in the right corner, but was beyond the sideline), and Counts’ interception. With 109 today, the teams finished with 972 yards from scrimmage! Fels won that battle, 576-396. Fels jr. WR Nijah Kelly (4-143) and Parker (6-135) caught three TDs apiece; the city record in that category is four. Rucker accounted for 428 yards of passing/rushing and seven TDs, counting a 3-yard run. Mathis passed for four and ran for two. I can’t imagine there has ever been a city game where the QBs combined to account for 13 scores (there were 15). Those not involving the QBs in some fashion were sr. Evander Barkley’s early 68-yard kickoff return for Franklin and Brown’s run today for Fels. Amazing. Earlier today, with fun in mind, I decided to take two Player of the Week T-shirts to the game and give them to the first guy on each team to make a tackle. Franklin’s went to sr. KO man Charlie Mills while Fels’ went to Kelly. Fels sr. LB Misael Perez indeed made a decent pop on that play (18-yard completion to Parker; Cruz had merely stepped out on his kickoff return), but Parker wound up a few yards away and it was Kelly who put him down (over Perez’ mild protests – ha ha). So now, we know for sure that each of the three major sports has experienced a resumption. Instances that immediately come to mind: The 2004 Catholic League baseball final was played over two days due to rain and last winter, in Pub basketball, Frankford and Northeast began playing Feb. 4 at Frankford and finished playing Feb. 18 at Northeast; there’d been a broken rim at halftime at Frankford. Each team also played another opponent before the resumption. The Pioneers rolled past University City, 70-54, at Frankford and then, after changing their jerseys from white to red, they piled into relatives' vehicles and hightailed it to Northeast, where the Vikings were waiting after falling to Southern, 77-51. Gotta love that, right? And you REALLY gotta love this. When today’s game concluded, Fels and Franklin had a scrimmage! Franklin simulated Frankford for Fels and Fels pretended to be Dobbins for Franklin. Those teams will meet on Thanksgiving. At the east end of the field, going through a no-pads practice in anticipation of Saturday’s AAA City Title, was none other than . . . Dobbins! The Mustangs watched the conclusion beforehand. What a fun afternoon!