At Allen County-Scottsville, it’s now or never with trip to Franklin County


SCOTTSVILLE — Allen County-Scottsville linebacker Will Moore thought about the question, looked a reporter straight in the eye and … proceeded to talk some pretty serious smack about one of Franklin County High School’s key skill-position players.

Moore elicited a couple laughs from AC-S teammates Payton Cope, the Patriots’ junior quarterback, and Cole Meador, a junior offensive guard, and rephrased his plan for a specific Franklin County player in Friday night’s KHSAA Class 4A playoff game in Frankfort.

That’s a long three-hour bus ride from the AC-S campus, and that’s where the Patriots’ 2020 season ended at the hands of Franklin County, a 48-14 defeat on the Dragons’ home field.

Given a chance to offer another observation on Franklin County, Moore adjusted his shoulder pads, cracked a wry smile and said, “They have a good skill set … it’s definitely nothing we can’t handle … They’re a cocky team, probably because of last year’s game.”

Veteran AC-S coach Brad Hood said his standout linebacker is probably right.

“We have a great opportunity in front of us,” Hood told his team after Tuesday evening’s practice.

Franklin County eliminated Central 14-8 last week, while Hood’s Patriots took care of traditional rival Franklin-Simpson, stopping the Wildcats 35-28 at Allen County-Scottsville. Junior AC-S quarterback Payton Cope may have had his best game yet as a Patriot, completing 12 of 14 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns.

Hood had a lot more to say, too, because he knows the Patriots (8-4) will need their best effort to knock out the likes of Franklin County (9-3). The Dragons have won seven straight games, all but one of them by lopsided margins. They haven’t given up more than a touchdown, defensively, in those seven games, either. The Flyers have lost three times, two of those defeats at the hands of teams in larger classifications, Woodford County and Ballard.

Franklin County has outscored its 12 opponents, by a total of 423-138.

Hood acknowledges the Flyers’ impressive talent level and proud tradition, but he’s equally adamant about his team’s ability to answer the challenge.

“They are very aggressive, and very judicial (on defense),” Hood said. “They have the ability to send pressure (on the quarterback) and quickness in the secondary to cover up, man-to-man.”

Franklin County quarterback Gavin Hurst has passed sparingly but effectively this season, completing 72 of 112 passes for 971 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hurst has been intercepted five times.

Junior running back Kaden Moorman leads the Dragons with 1,246 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns, and Franklin County has five different defenders with at least 6.5 tackles for losses. The Dragons’ Zach Claudio and Jayden Mattison each have four interceptions,

If the Patriots can upset Franklin-County, they’ll likely play No. 1-ranked Boyle County (11-1).

“We ain’t scared of Franklin, and we ain’t scared of Boyle, either,” Cope said.

AC-S junior offensive lineman Cole Meador said the Patriots have put in the work on the practice field and in the film room to knock off the Dragons. Hood reminded his team how much fun the three-hour bus ride back from Frankfort would be if the Patriots can extend their winning streak to five games.

“They’ve got some size, they’ve got some speed,” Meador said, “but it’s nothing we can’t handle.”

Maybe confidence will be the key for the Patriots on Friday night.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is 7:30 p.m. EST.