In fact they looked as though they could move the ball with ease against the Rockets. The line was bullying the defense, pushing them backwards giving their backs plenty of room to gain positive yards.
The Knights' started at their own 29 where they began racking up first down after first down playing error-free ball.
Running backs Cole Buckley, Alex Wible, Toby Sanchez and Bryson Watson were able to get past the line of scrimmage before they were met by resistance.
Scrambles by Jason Carey were also working. The Knights found themselves on the five-yard line staring into the end zone.
Wible, a 6’1”, 250 pound fullback, then punished the two Rocket defenders who dared get in his way as he barreled into the end-zone.
The only thing that went wrong for the Knights was when Titusville's J.J. Miller got a hand on Nate Pfennigwerth's extra point attempt preventing the tie.
The Knights offense looked strong and confident. Their confidence grew even more as they stopped the Rockets on the next drive setting up a punt to started the second quarter.
They then moved the ball well again but, Titusville's defense tightened in the red-zone and was aided by an illegal formation penalty.
Franklin decided to try to take the lead with a 29-yard field goal attempt, but a high snap and a wide kick kept the score at 7-6.
Titus took over on the twenty and managed one first down before they had to put it back to Franklin.
Franklin, getting the ball with only 1:51 before half, again moved the ball.
Jason Carey scrambled for 17 and then, on the next play, dumped a pass to Sanchez as he was being sacked for another positive gain.
They made it to 36 and looked to go even further until called for an illegal man down field penalty. Then a sack had them moving in the wrong direction back at midfield.
Carey scrambled again making it to the 39 but the seconds were ticking off the clock. They spiked the ball to stop the clock with enough time for one more play.
A 36 yard pass play to Buckley was stopped at the three by Titusville's Blake Ross and Kameron Mong. The half ended 7-6.
“Hats off to Franklin, we came out of the gate super clean, we loved how we drove on that first drive, but they adjusted to what we were doing and they really slowed us down in that second quarter,” said Titusville head coach Mike Reynolds.
Franklin held Titusville to under 100 first half yards, while racking up over 150 yards.
And they're getting be ball back to start the second half.
The Knights came back on to the field with a little swagger knowing they can move the ball on the Rockets.
“This is a different football team,” Turk said as he got his head gear situated for the second half.
On the opening drive, The Rocket's defense tightened and the Knights found themselves in a fourth and one situation in their own territory.
They decided to go for it.
On the run it looked like they had enough yards to convert, but the ball was fumbled and picked up by Jaxon Covell who returned it 34 yards to score.
Titusville failed to convert on the extra point, but was now up 13-6.
Instead of getting down and letting the mistake haunt them like they have in the past, the Knight’s came right back.
Books had a nice return but was slow getting up after the run.
The Franklin trainers were suddenly busy. Due to the heat and humidity cramps were rampant. Injuries and players needing to sit out plays could've also be tough on the Knights, but they again began moving the ball.
A Carey to Buckley 16-yard pass was followed by a Watson reverse on a broken play that netted 36 yards.
A few plays later and they were on the three yard line where Sanchez punched it in.
This time Pfennigwerth’s kick was good and with 6:13 left in the third quarter it was tied at 13.
Titusville's offense finally found its mojo again in the second half. A nearly identical drive to its first drive of the game only this time instead of traversing 63 yards, it was 74 yards.
Quarterback Ian McDonald used his arm and legs to move the ball down the field and into the end zone. A blocked extra point attempt put them up 19-13.
The kickoff was brought back to the Titusville 39 giving Franklin great field position. Runs by Sanchez, Buckley and Wible got them to the 16.
With the ball on the right hash, Franklin attempted two runs to the short side of the field resulting in a third and ten situation.
A bad pitch ended up on the turf recovered by Sanchez. This set up a long 45 yard field goal attempt by Pfennigwerth.
That’s as close as they would get.
They seemed to self destruct after that and injuries were keeping key players off the field at key times. A lost fumble and an interception ended up in either more points or minutes taken off the clock.
The game ended at 34-16
“I felt like we came out strong, they didn’t quit, they gave up that early touchdown but we went right back down the field to score. That shows you the maturity of the program," Turk said. “In the second half we just made too many darn mistakes.”
Turk said he now will turn his attention to Hickory who they host next week. They'll have their hands full. Hickory put up 38 first half points against Harbor Creek Saturday while giving up none.
“This (loss) doesn’t dictate our season, We’ll come back Monday (make) corrections,” Turk emphasized. “We were very impressed with the way we were able to run the football at will, but again a few of those mistakes - fumbling the football - a couple penalties - a couple bad mental mistakes really hurt us. We’re going to correct those and get to work on Monday.”