Posted: Oct 17, 2019
The Opening Kick
A season-long three-game homestand rolls on for the Grizzlies when they welcome Manchester University to Faught Stadium. The Grizzlies will aim to continue a lengthy winning streak over the Spartans on Saturday, one that spans more than two decades.
Last Time Out
Playing in front of a packed house on homecoming Saturday, Franklin notched their first home win of the year with a 49-35 triumph over the Anderson Ravens. The Grizzlies racked up over 500 yards of offense and nearly 300 yards rushing while holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes in victory. A complete recap can be found on page 14 of the game notes.
About the Spartans
Manchester comes into Saturday's game in search of their first league win of the year. On week ago, the Spartans were bested by Mount St. Joseph.
Manchester's offense will feature a heavy dose of the run game followed by more ground-generated yards courtesy of the HCAC's leading rusher in Donovan Henderson Jr. The senior tailback has 748 yards on the ground through five games, good for an average of 149.6 per contest. Additionally, Henderson has nine touchdowns on the ground, a number that tied for tops among all HCAC runners.
Senior quarterback Austin Roberts is expected to be under cente rcome Saturday afternoon and has been reliable when called upon. Despite throwing for less than 100 yards per game, Roberts has tossed five touchdowns to just one interception while going 42-for-94 through the air. Sophomore wideout Darren Lathrop has been his favorite target this year, hauling in 11 passes for 134 yards. Harrington Greer has 10 catches on the year with four of those going for touchdowns.
Sophomore safety Michael Cross enters the game as the team's top tackler, making 35 stops on the year while recovering one fumble and picking off one pass. Linebackers Devontay Moore and Conner Sherwin are right behind him with 34 stops each with the former tied for the league lead with five sacks.
Last Time They Met
Franklin and Manchester met late last October in North Manchester with the Grizzlies taking home a 45-24 win. Braden Smith threw for 309 yards and three scores, all to former wideout Brad Bonomini who went on to have 164 receiving yards. The game's pivotal point came when the Grizzlies rattled off 24 straight points, turning a one-score game into a rout.
The Grizzlies stretched their winning streak over Anderson to 14 in a row with last weekend's victory. This week, Franklin will have a chance to extend an even longer winning streak over the Spartans, one that dates back to the 1990s. The Grizzlies are 40-20-1 all-time against Manchester with a winning streak that dates back to at least 1998.
The Grizzlies held the ball for a season-high 39:23 a week ago, giving them four games this year where they won the time of possession battle. It was the most time in a game the Grizzlies held the ball for since Oct. 18, 2014 when they had over 40 minutes of possession time in a win over Mount St. Joseph.
Senior tailbacks Austin Grunden and Payton Healy were a big reason for the discrepancy in possession last week, as each racked up over 100 yards on the ground. Grunden piled up a career-high 119 yards on 19 carries while Healy set a career best with 101 yards on 15 touches, his first career game with more than 100 yards on the ground.
Stuffing the Competition
Senior Brayton Shannon has not only been the anchor of the Franklin defense through five weeks, but they one of the top defenders in the league. Shannon has led the Grizzlies in tackles in five of the first six games and his 62 tackles is the most in the HCAC entering this weekend.
Spreading the Wealth
Franklin's young receiving corps has been active this year, with 14 different players recording a catch on the year. Five different players have racked up double-digit catches on the year and six players have exceeded 100 yards.
Return on Investment
Freshman Jarrett Gibson has emerged as the league's top kick returner, racking up an HCAC-best 490 return yards through four games. Gibson leads the Grizzlies with 590 all-purpose yards entering this week.
Class of the League
Since the 2007 season, the Grizzlies have been dominant against the rest of the HCAC, going 90-7 over that span while claiming nine of the last 12 outright conference championships.
Around the HCAC
Just three conference games are set to take place this Saturday with Defiance and Hanover on a bye this week. The rest of the league slate is as follows.
Bluffton at Mount St. Joseph, 1:30 p.m.
Rose-Hulman at Anderson, 1:30 p.m.
Follow the Action Live
Saturday's game will be streamed by live on GrizTV, brought to you by the Hubler Automotive Group. Sam Weiderhaft will have the play-by-play action between the Grizzlies and Ravens. Links to the video and live stats are available at the top of the page. In-game updates will be provided on our Twitter feed, @FCGrizAthletics.