Prep football: Franklin gets defensive to score homecoming win

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 10:30 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 07, 2017 @ 2:26 AM

Edgewood running back Elijah Williams (24) is stood up by the Franklin defense during their game at Atrium Stadium in Franklin on Sept. 1. The host Wildcats won 49-21. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
Edgewood running back Elijah Williams (24) is stood up by the Franklin defense during their game at Atrium Stadium in Franklin on Sept. 1. The host Wildcats won 49-21. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Blindsided by bad luck in recent weeks, Franklin High School’s dream football season hit a nightmarish snag last week with the loss of senior running back Ryan Montgomery.

Already down a standout senior with quarterback Braden White sidelined, the Wildcats were searching for answers and an identity Friday.

They found both — and a win.


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Led by a still-stout defense, Franklin edged Bellbrook 21-16 on homecoming in a pivotal game featuring Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division heavyweights and Division III, Region 12 playoff contenders at Atrium Stadium.

Franklin improved to 6-1, 2-1, and solidified its No. 2 spot in the regional computer rankings.

Bellbrook, which dropped its second straight and falls to 4-3, 2-2, is likely knocked out of postseason play. The Golden Eagles were fourth in Region 12 computer points entering Friday. Win out and there’s a slim chance Bellbrook still earns a bid.

Franklin’s win was fueled by four-second half turnovers, including a third-quarter pick-six by Jared Kinzer that broke a 7-7 halftime tie and gave the hosts the lead for good. It was one of two second-half interceptions for Kinzer.

“As a former defensive coordinator, I told our coaches that defense wins championships,” Franklin coach Brad Childers said. “We’ve played great defense at Franklin for years, and we’re going to continue to do that. The defense put our offense in great position to score all night and got seven points themselves. What a program win.”


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Said Kinzer: “This whole week we talked about the next-man-up mentality. It’s tough having both those guys out, but Coach Childers said someone had to step up, and I said ‘Why not?’ ”

Kinzer’s second interception set up sophomore quarterback Braden Woods’ 9-yard touchdown run with 3:31 to play. A huge reception by Kinzer from Woods help set up Franklin’s first score — a 12-yard pass from Woods to John Harris — with less than a minute to go in the second quarter.

Said Kinzer: “Our team handled adversity well tonight.”

Considered one of the state’s top teams —regardless of division — after three weeks, Franklin’s high hopes dissipated some with the losses of White and Montgomery.

White was lost for the season with a knee injury in a Week 3 win over Piqua. Montgomery went down with a season-ending knee injury last week in a win over Waynesville. One of the state’s top prospects, Montgomery committed to Cincinnati on Wednesday.

In Franklin’s last 18 games, White and Montgomery produced 77 touchdowns combined. Overcoming their absence was no small feat.

“We have a really good group of kids and coaches,” Childers said. “We told them to trust the process. We just told them to focus on the next play and they did that. The kids were dialed in.”

Bellbrook cut the deficit to five on a 10-yard touchdown run by Brendan Labensky with 1:26 to play and then recovered the ensuing onside kick. After two plays advanced the ball to the Franklin 32, Bellbrook suffered its fourth turnover of the half when Franklin’s Kyle Rickard corralled a deflection off a Golden Eagles receiver with 40 seconds to play.

Bellbrook fumbled on Franklin’s 6 in the third quarter.

“Turnovers have been the main cause of our three losses,” Bellbrook coach Jeff Jenkins said. “Defensively, I thought both teams played a good game. Offensively, you just can’t give the ball away.”

Next Friday, the Wildcats will travel to Monroe, while the Golden Eagles visit Northridge.

Bellbrook 0-7-3-6—16

Franklin 0-7-7-7—21

B: Jack Campbell 24 pass from Brendan Labensky (Caden Kooken kick)

F: John Harris 12 pass from Braden Woods (Matt Schneider kick)

F: Jared Kinzer 35 interception retrun (Schneider kick)

B: Kooken 28 field goal

F: Woods 9 run (Schneider kick)

B: Labensky 10 run (Run failed)

LSU basketball loses heartbreaker, drops home tilt vs. Stephen F. Austin

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 3:13 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. — Freshman point guard Tremont Waters was clutch for the LSU basketball team again Saturday. But this time, it wasn’t enough.

Waters hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to give the Tigers a 1-point lead over Stephen F. Austin. But the Lumberjacks fought back, putting down a game-winning layup with four seconds left, defeating LSU 83-82. The loss dropped the Tigers to 6-3 on the season and gave LSU its first home loss of 2017.

After getting out to a hot start where the Tigers were shooting 63 percent through the first half, the Tigers wheezed through the second half, shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the half and 49.0 percent for the game.

Despite the theatrics, Waters had one of his more underwhelming games as a collegian. He led the team with 19  points, but on a 4-of-10  shooting day. Though Waters did make eight  free throws, he finished the day with a +/- grade of -3  meaning when Waters was on the court Stephen F. Austin outscored LSU by 3 point.

Sophomore point guard Skylar Mays helped lead the way for LSU, posting 17 points on 7-of-10  shooting with 4 rebounds and 6  assists, though he also had four fouls. Fresh off a career-high performance in points and rebounds, senior forward Aaron Epps turned out another double-double, scoring 16  points with 10 rebounds.

LSU was sloppy with the ball Saturday, turning it over 17  times leading to 12 Stephen F. Austin points. That said, LSU made the best of the Lumberjacks’ turnovers, taking the ball away 17  times and scoring 25  points.

As has been one of the Tigers’ strengths all season, LSU thrived at the free-throw line. Off 23  Stephen F. Austin personal fouls, LSU was 23-for-29  from the free-throw line Saturday. The Tigers came into this game ranked No. 18 n the nation in free-throw percentage.

What’s next for LSU basketball?

The Tigers return to action Tuesday evening for a home matchup versus Sam Houston State. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. CT and will be streamed nationally through WatchESPN and the SEC Network+.

Todd Graham coaches final practice in Tempe, says he’s happy for new OC Rob Likens

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 3:12 PM

Well, this is awkward.

Todd Graham, relieved of his duties as head coach 3 weeks ago, has continued to coach Arizona State, even after Herm Edwards was hired as his replacement. During that period, Graham’s 2 coordinators, whom the university hoped to retain, have accepted positions elsewhere. All the while, Graham was preparing the Sun Devils for their Hyundai Sun Bowl matchup with North Carolina State.

On Saturday, Graham coached his last practice in Tempe. He shared his bittersweet, yet full-heart sentiments with reporters afterward.

Graham went on to say he was pleased that the program was at least retaining wide receivers coach Rob Likens, who was recently promoted to offensive coordinator after the departure of OC/associate head coach Billy Napier to Louisiana-Lafayette. Graham also gave himself a little pat on the back on the way out.

Likens took the podium shortly thereafter.

Edwards has yet to fill the defensive coordinator position. Arizona State kicks off against N.C. State at 12 p.m. PT on Dec. 29.

Michigan State-Oakland: Live updates, score, analysis (December 16, 2017)

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:34 PM

No. 2  Michigan State (9-1, 2-0 Big Ten) and Oakland (6-4) tip off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 16, in the second game of a doubleheader at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Stay here for live updates, scores and analysis.

Michigan State-Oakland live updates, score

Michigan State 34, Oakland 24 (H1, 3:09): Michigan State got itself in trouble with suspect passing, particularly from Cassius Winston, who tried to pass over the top of defenders. Those errors led to transition opportunities for Oakland and fouls on the Spartans. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Josh Langford each got to 2 fouls in a hurry.

Michigan State 31, Oakland 19 (H1, 6:14): Oakland came out of a timeout and immediately got a shot clock violation. On the other end, Michigan State found open looks and hit them. Matt McQuaid hit a 3-pointer in transition, a welcome sign for a fan base that has seen him struggle mightily in recent weeks.

Michigan State 24, Oakland 19 (H1, 7:59): Michigan State’s commitment to attacking the rack gave Oakland a lot of trouble and put the Grizzlies in serious foul trouble. Starters Martez Walker and Isaiah Brock both had 3 fouls with a lot of time to play in the first half.

Michigan State 17, Oakland 14 (H1, 11:58): Michigan State and Oakland got off to a fast-paced start, and Josh Langford showed his importance to the Spartans. He continually sprinted up the sideline, got the ball in good positions and got his quick shot off. He scored 7 of Michigan State’s first 17 points.

Michigan State 0, Oakland 0 (H1, 20:00): Michigan State started its usual five of Cassius Winston, Josh Langford, Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Nick Ward. Oakland did not start leading scorer Kendrick Nunn, who has been battling an ankle injury.

Michigan State-Oakland basketball: Game time, information

Michigan State and Oakland play at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Date: Saturday, Dec. 16

Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

How can I watch the Michigan State-Oakland basketball game on TV and online?

Michigan State and Oakland will be broadcast on ESPNU.  WatchESPN will have the live stream. You also can stream the game from your  Android or  iOS device.

Clay Matvick and Brooke Weisbrod will call the game.

How can I listen to the Michigan State-Oakland basketball game on the radio?

Michigan State and Oakland can be heard over the 38-affiliate  Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WNAS-FM (93.1) in Detroit.

Will Tieman and Matt Steigenga will have the call.

Michigan State-Oakland basketball preview

It’s not a Big Ten opponent, but Oakland is as familiar a foe as any for Michigan State. Spartans coach Tom Izzo has faced the Grizzlies in 15 of his 22 seasons, including 11 of the last 12. This will make it 12 meetings in 13 years.

Michigan State has won every time, but Oakland steadily has been inching toward the massive upset it craves. In the last three meetings at a neutral site, the Grizzlies have lost by an average of 3.7 points. In 2015, they took the Spartans to overtime behind 37 points from current Bulls point guard Kay Felder.

“I don’t know why in the hell I keep doing it,” Izzo said of his series with Oakland. “But I do because I have great respect for [Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe] and his program. … It’s sold out. How cool is that? Of course, that’s gonna be big for them.

“But where I’d like to see if our team is maturing, I hope it’s really big for us, too, because we get a chance to play downtown Detroit. We get a chance to play where [coach Stan] Van Gundy leads the Pistons. We get a chance to play in a place where if we win enough we could be playing there in March.”

The new Pistons arena will host first- and second-round games in the NCAA Tournament this spring. Should Michigan State lock up a No. 1 seed, it could earn the right to play there again.

But getting that seed means taking care of teams such as Oakland, tough squads that will put up a fight. The Grizzlies have plenty of talented players but have struggled to get them all on the floor at the same time. Jalen Hayes, who averages 19.3 points and 9.3 rebounds, missed four games because of an eligibility issue. Illinois transfer Kendrick Nunn, who averages 21.7 points, has been set back by an ankle injury. But per The Detroit News’ Tony Paul, Nunn will play on Saturday.

“They have three players averaging [around] 20 points per game, and all three of them have given us problems in the past,” Izzo said, also referencing Martez Walker, who averages 21.2 points. “It is no surprise that Kampe calls this his best team.”

The dynamic Oakland trio will be a stiff test for a Michigan State team that has been shutting teams down inside the arc. Each of the Spartans’ last three opponents have shot worse than 26 percent on 2-pointers. But defending 3-pointers has been a tougher task, and they’ll face a Grizzlies team hitting 8.8 shots from long range per game.

On offense, Michigan State has players getting it done inside and out. Despite his limited minutes, big man Nick Ward has scored 13.7 points per game behind 64.1 percent shooting. Additionally, point guard Cassius Winston is hitting a scalding 61.0 percent of his 3-pointers (25 of 41).

Iowa-Drake: Live updates, scores, stats from Wells Fargo Arena

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 2:29 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa (5-6) and Drake (5-5) meet for the first time in two years in the opening game of the Hy-Vee Classic at Wells Fargo Arena at 1 p.m. CT Saturday.

The Hawkeyes have won the last five meetings with the Bulldogs, including the previous two as part of the Hy-Vee Classic. Iowa leads the all-time series 58-10 and claimed 27 consecutive victories until Drake pulled off three wins from 2006 through 2008.

Expect a spirited battle between the instate foes.

“It’s always a different feel when you play an instate rival with Drake, UNI or Iowa State,” Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon said. “We know they’re going to be coming ready to play.”

Iowa-Drake Live Updates

2:01 p.m. (Halftime) — Iowa leads Drake 40-33 at halftime. Near the end of the first half, Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon appeared to come down wrong on his ankle. He left the game and went to the locker room. But he reappeared for warmups and will start the second half.

1:44 p.m. (1H, 4:20) — After Drake took a 25-21 lead, Iowa has scored nine straight points to lead 30-25. Tyler Cook has 11 for Iowa.

1:35 p.m. (1H, 7:38) — Drake guard De’Antae McMurray drilled a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Drake a 22-21 lead. So far there have been eight lead changes and four ties.

1:27 p.m. (1H, 11:54) — Drake leads Iowa 14-13. Iowa’s Tyler Cook and Drake’s Reed Timmer each have six points.

1 p.m. — Iowa’s starters: Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Nicholas Baer, Jack Nunge, Tyler Cook.

Iowa-Drake basketball game time, details

Iowa and Drake play at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 16.

  • Time: 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT tip-off
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 16
  • Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa

What TV channel is showing Iowa-Drake?

BTN airs the game. Wayne Randazzo is the play-by-play announcer and Shon Morris is the analyst.

How can I watch Iowa-Drake online? and BTN2Go provide live streaming of the game. Click here for more information.

How can I listen to Iowa-Drake on the radio?

You can listen on Sirius 113/XM channel 203. In Iowa, 600 AM (WMT-Cedar Rapids), 1040 AM (WHO-Des Moines) and 800 AM (KXIC-Iowa City) are the Hawkeyes’ flagship radio stations. Gary Dolphin is the play-by-play broadcaster with Bob Hansen as the color analyst. Click here for other Iowa radio affiliates. 

For Drake, broadcaster Larry Cotlar calls the action while Paul Doerrfeld provides analysis. The Bulldogs’ affiliate is 1350 AM (KRNT-Des Moines). Click here for more information.

Iowa-Drake preview

The longtime instate foes enter the game from different directions. Drake is 5-5 overall and lost by one point at Minnesota on Monday night. The Bulldogs beat Wake Forest, nearly upset Colorado and stopped Drexel in overtime. Drake also lost to South Dakota by 28 points.

With new coach Niko Medved, the Bulldogs have been wildly inconsistent but are playing with great confidence.

“They’ve played like that all year,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I’ve watched a lot of tape on them. They played really well against Wake Forest, really well against Colorado. Really impressed with their team. And they’ve got a veteran club. They’re playing that way. They move the ball. They share it.

“They’ve got a lot of guys making 3s, a lot of guys making plays. They play small, but it doesn’t seem to affect them on the glass like you think it would.”

Iowa (5-6) is still searching for continuity after some rough losses. The Hawkeyes started 3-0 but dropped two games in the Cayman Islands Classic and were blown out at Virginia Tech. Iowa lost both early Big Ten games — home against Penn State and at Indiana — and also fell at Iowa State. The Hawkeyes ended a four-game losing streak by beating Southern on Sunday.

Statistically, Iowa has been decent in most areas, save for scoring defense. The Hawkeyes rank last among Big Ten teams at 74.2 points allowed per game. The offense at times has been good but lacks consistency.

We are not executing offensively either at half court or in transition the way we need to,” McCaffery said. “ We’re not executing in our man-to-man or our zone or our press as well as we need to. But, again, we’re doing it really well at times. And I think that’s the frustrating thing for all of us.

“We keep saying the same thing over and over. It’s inconsistency. It’s there. It’s not there.”