Times Sports Editor
As far as opening nights go, the Franklin Grizzlies looked much more comfortable than the home standing Knights on Friday evening.
The Grizzlies got a 153-yard effort from senior running back Clayton Simmons and Daniel Bechman look like he'd been running Franklin's spread offense for years, completing 15-of-18 passes and a pair of scores in a 35-12 Franklin win.
Northview fell behind early in the game as Franklin confidently strung an 11-play scoring drive together to open the game and added a second first quarter forcing the Knights' to narrow their game plan early.
"(Franklin) got up 14-0 early and we were playing catch up," said Northview coach George Gettle. "We weren't doing a good job of picking up linebacker blitzes and falling behind kind of squashed the running game."
Bechman certainly didn't look like a QB making his first varsity start, completing all four of his passes in the opening drive, culminating with a nine-yard scoring throw to Simmons.
The Knights were held to a three-plays and out drive when they got the ball, setting up the Grizzlies at midfield following the punt.
This time, Franklin drove down to the Knights' eight-yard line before Bechman found Austin Clark for a 14-0 lead with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
Finally hitting a bit of an offensive rhythm, the Knights moved the ball down to the Franklin 22-yard line. Trent Lancaster hit Zac Niehaus on a 23-yard pass play on third-and-14 to keep the drive going, but Franklin's Craig Buck would halt the drive with an interception.
Northview did get on the board the following drive as Lancaster snuck the ball in for a one-yard TD blast. The highlight of the drive was Lancaster's rocket to Justin White following a high snap that he leaped to haul in. The kick by Kade Baker was no good.
Franklin got a short field to work with on the kickoff, taking over at the Knights' 31-yard line.
The Grizzlies wasted little time, scoring three plays in on a two-yard run by Bechman to take a 21-6 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Knights showed off their own big play ability as Lancaster found Zach Boetjer zipping down the sideline for a 57-yard touchdown to cap the first half scoring at 21-12.
Though Franklin started the second half scoring on a 40-yard TD run off tackle by Simmons to push the advantage to 28-12, the Knights had their chances to get back into the game.
Putting together a time consuming a 13-play drive into Franklin territory that included a fourth-and-18 hookup from Lancaster to Niehaus, the Knights set up at the eight-yard line.
From there however, Franklin sacked Lancaster to push the ball back to the 17-yard line before Derek Million intercepted Lancaster to end the threat.
Niehaus gave the Knights another shot when, two plays later, he made a fantastic leaping interception to return the ball to Northview.
Again the Knights drove the ball to the eight-yard line, but a fourth down pass went incomplete
Franklin scored a late touchdown by Simmons and the Knights suffered a third interception on a tipped ball and lost a fumble on an option pitch.
"Disappointing," said Gettle of the result. "I'm just shocked. I thought we were better prepared than that. They didn't do anything we didn't expect, they just outplayed us. The good thing is that mistakes can be corrected, it's not like we didn't have the athletic ability to compete. We just made too many mistakes."
Lancaster threw for 231 yards in the game with 94 going to Niehaus and 77 yards to Boetjer. The running game however was lacking while playing behind. Kade Baker led the team with 45 yards on 13 carries.
The Knights are back in action with a conference battle against a tough Edgewood squad on the road next week.
Franklin 35, Northview 12
FR -- Daniel Bechman nine-yard pass to Clayton Simmons (Hilary Fox kick), 7:25
FR -- Bechman eight-yard pass to Austin Clark (Fox kick), 1:56
Nv -- Trent Lancaster one-yard run (kick failed), 2:53
FR -- Bechamn two-yard run (Fox kick), 1:46
FR -- Simmons 40-yard run (Fox kick), 6:45
FR -- Simmons 18-yard run (Fox kick), 2:52
Rushing -- Northview: Baker 13-45, Williams 1-2, T.Lancaster 11-(-4) TD, Stevenson 4-8; Franklin: Simmons20-153 2TD, Bechman 14-47 2TD, Ortega 2-0.
Passing -- Northview: T.Lancaster 9-18 231 yards, 1 TD, 3 Int.; Franklin: Bechman 15-18 210 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int.
Receiving -- Northview: Niehaus 4-94, Boetjer 2-77 TD, Bradshaw 1-10, Stevenson 1-8; Franklin: Dewitt 3-55, Mercer 4-93, Simmons 4-64 TD, Clark 2-7 TD, Hodges 3-41