BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- A powerhouse Franklin squad rolled through the regular season, falling only to 4A Lorena on their way to a district championship. The Lions shut out five consecutive opponents during one stretch of the season, outscoring them, including eventual 2A Division II state champ Mart, 283-0 with their Slot T offensive attack.
After a pair of easy playoff wins the Lions came up three points short against Grandview, the team that went on to win the Class 3A Division I state championship.
Franklin looks to reload after a state championship caliber team came up shy of their ultimate goal a year ago. Some key players will have to be replaced, but the cupboard is far from bare for Mike Hedrick. Hedrick earned his 300th coaching victory in 2018.
He is one of three active coaches in the entire state with 300 wins. The 2019 edition of the Lions will welcome back five starters on offense and four starters on defense.
Datron Dixon will be the main back in the Franklin Slot T offense, but expect many more to rip through opposing defenses for big gains as well.
James Little is back under center to run the offense at quarterback, and he will have three returning starters on the line to pave the way in Cody Duewall, Kobe Lebreche and Keegan Wilson.
Hedrick says, “Our offensive line will be our biggest strength this season.”
The defense will be most experienced at linebacker, as CJ Smith and Seth Spiller are back after all-district seasons a year ago.
Ashton Ferguson is the lone returnee on the defensive line, while Dixon is back in the secondary. Franklin will once again play a very tough non-district schedule, starting with Hearne in the Highway 79 rivalry game.
Lorena went three rounds deep in the playoffs in 4A Division II last season and Mart is a perennial state power that is coming off another championship in 2A Division II.
The toughest two games in district play a year ago were Diboll and Crockett, and should go a long way in deciding the eventual champion again in 2019.
9/6 @ Lorena
10/4 @ Elkhart*
10/11 Palestine Westwood*
10/25 @ Trinity*
11/8 @ Crockett*