Smith Center runs away from Russell

Smith Center Redman #1 Luke Franklin addresses his teammates after the game.  The Smith Center...
Smith Center Redman #1 Luke Franklin addresses his teammates after the game. The Smith Center Redmen defeated the Russell Broncos 30-6 in a Mid-Continent League football game held at Shaffer Field in Russell, Kansas on September 15, 2023. (Photo: Joey Bahr, Bahr | (Photo: Joey Bahr, www.joeybahr.)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:53 PM CDT
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The Smith Center Redmen scored 30 points in the last 16 minutes of the game to hold off fellow Mid-Continent League member, the Russell Broncos.

The game held at Russell was preceded by a Hometown Heroes ceremony. Each Russell player selected a local veteran, service member, first responder, or other community helper to recognize what they do for the Russell Area. The Hero escorted the player onto the field during the ceremony.

Smith Center won the coin toss and elected to receive.

The first half saw both teams match the other. One side would get a gain and then give back the yards and more at times. Each squad had penalties or turnovers that killed a drive.

Smith Center did make it to the Russell eight-yard line late in the second quarter, but they ended up turning the ball over on downs after a Parker Hutchinson pass went incomplete.

During halftime, a Smith Center assistant reminded one of the players that they had never lost to Russell. In the four previous meetings, the Redmen always came out on top.

Six minutes into the quarter, Smith Center finally found the big play to open things up. Most of the rushing plays beforehand had been up the middle with Benjy Carr carrying the ball.

On Third and 12, Luke Franklin got the call to go around the end. He took off for a 37-yard run. Six plays later, he would put the first points on the board with a 13-yard rush. He would score the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.

Russell would advance the ball a few plays during the next possession. Eventually, they would turn it over on downs.

Luke Franklin struck again in the next possession. He first had a 43-yard rush starting on the Redmen’s 44-yard line. The very next play he took the ball in from 13 yards out to score the second touchdown of the night just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.

After Jason Desbien scored the two-point conversion, Smith Center led 16-0.

Russell finally got into a scoring situation on their next possession. A 27-yard reception of a Mason Rohr pass by Sam Thielen, put the Broncos in Redmen territory. Receptions by Brayden Suchy and Max Evans put the Broncos in a goal-to-go set of downs.

On fourth down from the two-yard line, quarterback Mason Rohr took the snap and handed it off to Trey Zorn. Zorn moved around the pocket and then threw a pass to a streaking Rohr. Rohr caught the ball and scored the home team’s first touchdown of the night.

A missed pass caused Russell to not make the two-point conversion and trail 16-6.

Smith Center immediately responded to Russell’s score with another Luke Franklin touchdown.

Franklin ran into the end zone from 70 yards out on the very first play of the next series. Jason Desbien added the two-point conversion to make the score 24-6.

Russell’s next trip with the ball ended abruptly when Bracksten Carr intercepted a pass meant for a fellow Bronco.

Luke Franklin capped the short series with a 14-yard rush. The two-point conversion would fail and the score was 30-6 Redmen.

Franklin ended the night with 16 carries totaling 279 yards and four touchdowns.

Russell’s record goes to 2-1 on the season. Next week they travel to Beloit for the start of district play.

Smith Center improved to 2-1 and will host Wabaunsee next week.