735 days ago Franklin beat Conneaut Area 23-16 on the road.
Friday night, September 29, 2023, the Knights tasted victory again with a commanding 35-0 win on the road against Warren.
“We’ve been talking about this the last four years,” Turk said. “I’ve said to family and our friends and our athletes - guys be patient, we’re continuing to build.”
No question the Knights have had an incredibly tough schedule with all of their first five opponents this season boasting either winning or break-even records so far.
A few weeks ago Turk said this is a different football team after they held Oil City to within striking distance in the first half.
He might be right.
Friday they faced another winless foe in Warren, which has a team reminiscent of Turk's first year with the Knights.
The Dragons had a 5-5 campaign in 2022 but graduated a lot of their size, so this year's squad is very young, undersized and easily pushed around.
There was no question going into Friday night’s contest that this was a very good chance for Turk and crew to get the monkey off their back.
Of special note: Sam Wimer is OK. The junior was taken by ambulance from the War Memorial Stadium Friday on a stretcher and in a neck brace. But a report from Coach Turk around 11:30 p.m. indicated the tests went well and the 5’11" offensive and defensive lineman was on his way home.
“They know the preparation it takes to play the tough team,” Turk said of his Knights. “They also know the preparation it takes to face the teams that are struggling and you do not take those teams for granted. And we will not. We will prepare like it is the Super Bowl every week.”
Warren got the ball first and the Knights met them with the clash of shoulder pads that popped unlike anything they had really heard this year. At least not in a while.
Franklin got the ball first around the ten-minute mark on their own 38.
It was looking like Franklin was in for another long night.
Then on second and 22 from their own 26-yard-line, first-time starting quarterback Buckley went back to pass and immediately got flushed from the pocket rolling to his right.
He then chose to throw, off-balanced, back across the field in the direction of big Alex Wible who got his hands on the ball but by no means handled it cleanly.
As he bobbled the ball he finally reeled it in reaching over the top of the Warren defender, who was trying to hit him and prevent the catch. After the Warren player hit the deck and Wible was still standing, the big guy began motoring towards the end-zone that was about 55 yards away.
A couple Dragon paws touched him in his scamper but none dragged him down. The Knights had their longest play from scrimmage all year long - a 74 yard pass from Buckley to Wible for the first touchdown of the game.
At 8:51 of the first quarter, Franklin scored their first winning touchdown in two years.
Pfennigwerth was stellar on the night with most of his kickoffs into the end zone and knocking home five extra points.
The Knights' defense was great all night with the Dragons struggling to get first downs.
Penalties and fumbles hurt both teams, but the Knights were able to overcome them.
A fumble killed Franklin's third drive but it didn't end up being damaging. Warren looked like they were on a scoring drive, but key stops and their own predisposition toward penalties stopped them.
The Knights took over at their own 21 early in the second quarter. Wible's longest play from scrimmage for the year didn’t last long when Buckley kept the ball and took it around the left end into the wide-open. When he met opposition he made a sharp cut to the right and went 79 yards for the Knight’s third score of the half.
Watson then took a handoff and was about to break the longest play from scrimmage for the year again, but was caught from behind about 80 yards later and fumbled the ball back to the Dragons.
Dragons, having a potential momentum shift, still was unable to do a thing and had to punt.
This was unfamiliar territory for the Knights coaching staff.
“The way (the players) handled themselves in the locker room… you know you’re up 28-0 and you haven’t been there before,” Turk searched for a way to describe what was happening with his team. “You know (Warren is) going to throw the ball and you look to see how the young men are going to react.”
A Trystin Books big defensive play resulted in a Dragon loss. The Dragons responded but not enough to move the chains when a scary moment occurred and Sam Wimer was escorted off the field by the Warren ambulance crew.
A few moments later a deflated Knights crew had to punt for the first time in the game.
That would be it for the scoring except for another Pfennigweth extra point.
Turk will concentrate on the team's needs while hoping to get his first home win as the Knight's coach.