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Franklin Lions fall by one point in chance for first-ever state title

Posted at 6:31 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 19:49:48-05

ARLINGTON, TX — The 2020 high school football season has been unlike any in history. But after four months of cancellations, upsets and just about everything in-between, it if finally coming to an end.

Thursday afternoon, one Central Texas program had the chance to finish this unpredictable year on top.

The Franklin Lions knew coming into the season they had a chance to be at AT&T Stadium with the chance to play for a state championship.

But after a COVID-19 outbreak hit the team earlier in the year, it seemed those hopes might be dashed.

So with their backs against the wall, the Lions bore down, winning their last 12 in a row to set up a date with destiny Thursday afternoon.

Franklin, playing against a 3-A power Canadian, were looking for their first-ever state title, and the Franklin faithful were right there with them.

But in the first quarter, it was Canadian striking first.

Wildcat quarterback Josh Culwell stepped up in the pocked and fired a strike to Gary Anderson to give Canadian the 7-0 lead.

They'd go up 14-0.

With their backs against the wall yet again, Franklin responded.

Midway through the second, Marcus Wade connected with his running back Malcolm Murphy, who raced away into the end zone, cutting the lead to seven.

In the second half, things got crazy.

In the ball game with less than two minutes left, Seth Spiller was called on for the half-back pass. He would find Braden Smith for the score, and Franklin went ahead.

But Franklin missed the extra point and left Canadian with too much time.

The Wilcats scored with less than 30 seconds to play. They would take the lead, and the Lion comeback would come up one point and one play short of a state championship.

This is the second night in a row a Central Texas team fell by one point. Mart came up short in its race for a fourth-straight state title 22-21.