Franklin Panthers Beat Wilson Mules in Battle Over Bell

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by LA1 NEWS:

The annual battle for the Bell between Highland Park's Franklin High School and El Sereno's Wilson High School was completely one-sided this year, with Franklin taking the Bell from Wilson to a final score of 45-7. The first half was a Franklin domination, with Wilson scoring a touchdown just before the end of the half to make what appeared to be a game at 14-7. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Franklin Coach Narciso Diaz and his team were coming off a disappointing one-point loss to Bell High School in a non-conference game on Sep 12 and a sound 49-19 defeat by South Gate one week later. He must have instilled the fear of God in his young men during the halftime break because the mighty Panthers came out of their training room fuming and ready to play.  

Franklin defended to start the second half. Wilson worked the ball upfield, but the team finally turned the ball over on downs at the Franklin 24-yard-line with 10:20 left in the third. At 7:59 Franklin attempted a punt but the ball was hiked over the head of the kicker, and Wilson regained the ball at the Franklin 20-yard-line with 6:16 on the clock. Wilson tried a crossing pass next, but a Franklin defender broke up the play. An overthrown pass came next, and then two unsuccessful runs leading to a Wilson punt.

With 5:19 left in the third quarter, Franklin's versatile wide receiver/outside linebacker #80 Cesar Jimenez received a 15-yard pass from FHS Quarterback Robert Maldonado resulting in a long run to a touchdown, making it 21-7 Franklin. Then, WHS attempted a long pass which was intercepted by Panther wide receiver/safety #8 Alan Rodriguez and returned to the Wilson 34-yard-line. A series of handoffs were given to #2 David Telles in order to take time off the clock, followed by a couple of incomplete passes which left Franklin with a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:44 left in the third quarter. The field goal was good and Wilson then ran the clock out. The Panthers enjoyed a comfortable 24-7 lead at the end of the third. 

By the 8:25 mark in the fourth quarter, it became clear that the Panther defense was proving too much for the Mules. At the 6:50 mark, however, Wilson recovered a Franklin fumble and the Mules began to ring the Bell loudly. But at the 5:51 mark, the WHS offense had nowhere to go. A running touchdown by Panther #2 David Telles came at 5:11 left in the game, which was followed by yet another Telles run-in just before the end of the game giving Franklin the resounding win over the Mules with a final score of 47-7.

The Franklin win comes at a vital time for the Franklin community. Former Panther footballer Bernie Mancia passed away this week. A car wash to the former player is scheduled for tomorrow morning beginning at 9am at Academia Avance Charter School. 115 N. Avenue 53; Highland Park 90042.

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