DEFIANCE, OHIO - Homecoming 2018 was capped off with the Yellow Jacket football team hosting Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Franklin College on Saturday. Despite a season high 28 points from the Yellow Jackets, the Grizzlies prevailed at Justin F. Coressel Stadium 55-28.
Franklin struck first in the HCAC contest as an 11-play opening drive was capped off with a 12-yard passing touchdown. The Yellow Jackets wasted no time giving the Homecoming crowd something to cheer about. Starting from their own 25-yard line the Purple and Gold marched down the field in an 11-play drive to equalize at 7-7. From 12-yards out Logan Mico (Grosse Point, Mich. / Grosse Pointe South) handed the ball off to Corey Bennett (Tampa, Fla. / Blake) and the senior rushed into the endzone for his second touchdown of the season.
The visitors quickly shot back by way of a 66-yard passing touchdown to take the lead 14-7. The Yellow Jackets looked to strike back as they ran the clock into the second half. A fourth and one from the Grizzlie 25-yard line arose for the Purple and Gold to try an extend a 56-yard drive. The Franklin defense was able to penetrate the line and stop Tanner Hughes (Pierceton, Ind. / Whitko) just short of the first down worthy yard line. A quick drive up the field for Franklin saw the Yellow Jackets with their backs to the wall on their own 1-yard line. Franklin handed the ball off in hopes of extending their lead, but the Grizzlie rusher was met by Chris Keys Jr. (Pontiac, Mich. / Avondale) to force the turnover on downs.
The visitors were able to get on the board once again with a 31-yard run to extend the lead to 21-7. A 24-yard kickoff return from Kendal Bryant (Chicago, Ill. / Fenger Academy) had the Yellow Jacket offense poised to drive to the endzone from their own 34-yard line. One play was more than enough as Mico found Demarquis Cummings (Orlando, Fla. / Dr. Phillips) for a 66-yard touchdown.
Two more scoring drives from the Grizzlies sent the game into halftime with a Franklin lead 35-13.
The visitors were able to earn a handful of scores to open up the second half. After a Grizzlie touchdown to take a 48-13 lead, the Yellow Jackets began a quarter ending drive. Starting from their own 29-yard line the Yellow Jacket offense marched down the field by way of 32 rushing yards, two pass completions, and a handful of QB rushes to score the opening touchdown of the fourth quarter. The visitors were able to get on the scoreboard one more time as they took the lead 55-21.
Coach Manny Matsakis's side was prepared to keep Franklin hard at work late in the contest. After another long drive the Yellow Jackets found themselves staring at a fourth-and-goal from the Grizzlie six-yard line. Mico dropped back to pass and found Wyatt Cadmus (Britton, Mich. / Tecumseh) for the touchdown with just 1:46 left on the clock. A Jordan Osborne (Delaware / Rutherford B. Hayes) successful PAT cut the Franklin lead to 55-28.
Offensively, Mico tallied 264 yards and two touchdowns on the day while Bennett rushed for 135-yards, breaking the 100-yard barrier in two consecutive games.
Senior Jalin Nealy (Pontiac, Mich. / West Bloomfield) led the DC secondary with a team-best 11 tackles.
Defiance returns to action Saturday, October 13 as they make the trip to southern Indiana to take on Hanover College. Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm.