Class 4-A final preview/pick | Franklin-Simpson vs. Johnson Central

Class 4-A final preview/pick | Franklin-Simpson vs. Johnson Central

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Class 4-A final preview/pick | Franklin-Simpson vs. Johnson Central

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CLASS 4-A STATE FOOTBALL FINAL

FRANKLIN-SIMPSON VS. JOHNSON CENTRAL

When: 4:45 p.m. EST Sunday.

Where: Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green.

FRANKLIN-SIMPSON WILDCATS (14-0)

* Coach: Doug Preston (fifth year).

* Top rushers: Saul Brady (5-11, 177, Jr., 151 carries, 1,389 yards, 20 TDs); Josiah Robey (5-11, 155, Sr., 86 carries, 1,119 yards, 14 TDs); Carlos McKinney (6-0, 206, So., 163 carries, 783 yards, 13 TDs); Jackson Caudill (6-0, 185, Sr., 62 carries, 230 yards, 7 TDs).

* Top passer: Jackson Caudill (6-0, 185, Sr., 71 of 130, 1,468 yards, 12 TDs, 2 TDs).

* Top receivers: Josiah Robey (5-11, 155, Sr., 29 catches, 564 yards, 7 TDs); Hunter Janes (6-3, 185, Sr., 23 catches, 525 yards, 4 TDs).

* Defensive leaders: Cade Harvey (6-0, 190, Jr., 154 tackles); James Baker (5-7, 177, Jr., 132 tackles, 1 INT); Dion Pearson (6-1, 285, Jr., 109 tackles); Collin Preston (5-11, 185, So., 78 tackles); Tavian Jones (5-10, 151, Sr., 22 tackles, 5 INTs); Josiah Robey (5-11, 155, Sr., 22 tackles, 5 INTs).

* State-final history: Franklin-Simpson is 2-5 all-time in state finals, winning back-to-back Class 3-A crowns in 1979 and 1980. The Wildcats’ last trip was in 2011, ending in a 42-14 loss to Highlands in the 4-A final.

JOHNSON CENTRAL GOLDEN EAGLES (13-1)

* Coach: Jim Matney (13th year).

* Top rushers: Joe Jackson (5-10, 170, So., 157 carries, 2,049 yards, 31 TDs); Cody Rice (5-10, Fr., 44 carries, 543 yards, 4 TDs); Gunner Slone (6-2, 245, Sr., 90 carries, 480 yards, 9 TDs); Blake Gamble (5-7, 125, Jr., 58 carries, 473 yards, 7 TDs).

* Top passer: Riley Preece (5-10, 135, Fr., 62 of 87, 1,254 yards, 15 TDs, 3 INTs).

* Top receivers: Geordan Blanton (5-7, 135, Sr., 23 catches, 727 yards, 10 TDs); Noah Frisby (6-3, 215, Sr., 19 catches, 337 yards, 4 TDs).

* Defensive leaders: Nathaniel Wilcox (6-0, 190, Sr., 88 tackles, 1 INT); Devon Patrick (5-10, 205, Sr., 77 tackles); Josh Ervin (6-3, 225, Sr., 72 tackles); Devin Johnson (5-11, 195, Fr., 63 tackles); Blake Gamble (5-7, 125, Jr., 41 tackles, 5 INTs); Geordan Blanton (5-7, 135, Sr., 36 tackles, 5 INTs).

* State-final history: Johnson Central is in its second state final, having lost to South Warren 36-6 in last year’s final.

OUTLOOK

Both of these teams want to run the ball, but they go about it in different ways. Franklin-Simpson spreads the ball around, with three players have rushed for more than 700 yards. Joe Jackson is a workhorse for Johnson Central, averaging 13.1 yards per carry. Johnson Central struggled against South Warren’s speed in last year’s final and could face the same issue against Franklin-Simpson.

PICK

Franklin-Simpson 34-28. Buoyed by a boisterous crowd, the Wildcats pull off the biggest upset of the weekend.

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