DAHLONEGA — The way Lumpkin County sealed a crucial 24-14 homecoming win over Franklin County made Indians coach Tommy Jones smile.
"How long was that drive?" Jones asked after the game.
It was 17 plays and 70 yards, capped by Taylor Burns' career-long 42-yard field goal that put the Indians up two scores heading into the fourth.
The Lumpkin defense did the rest. The Indians forced three Franklin turnovers and shut out the visiting Lions in the second half.
The win improves Lumpkin to 4-2 and 1-1 in 8A-AAA and puts the Indians in good shape in the playoff race.
Franklin (2-3-1, 0-2) was tormented by the turnovers and 10 penalties. One of those penalties negated a 38-yard touchdown run by Wesley Clay in the first quarter. One of the turnovers came inside the Lumpkin 15-yard line. It was one of those nights for the Lions, who have lost three straight.
"Give them all the credit," said Franklin County coach Tommy Welch. "They made the plays and we didn't."
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams combined for 35 points in a wild second quarter.
Lumpkin's Ian McIntosh scored twice in the quarter, highlighted by a 50-yard touchdown catch and run on 3rd-and-23 that put the Indians ahead 21-7 with 1:30 left before half.
Franklin quickly answered with a five-play, 67-yard scoring drive, capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Harris to Clay to cut the deficit to 21-14 at half.
"We made some adjustments on defense at halftime," said Jones, "and I'm really proud of our coaches and kids for executing out there. Big win."
Lumpkin's defensive adjustments and ball-control offense limited the Lions to just four first downs in the second half and 31 yards rushing. John Harris recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass on Franklin's last possession.
The Indians had the ball for 10 more minutes than Franklin in the second half.
Lumpkin quarterback Taylor Guthrie led a balanced attack. The senior completed 13 of 26 passes for 159 yards with one touchdown. He added 51 yards on the ground. Guthrie, who also handles punting duties, was hit on a punt and limped off the field with less than a minute to play. He was on the sideline with ice on his right foot as the game ended.
Michael Flanagan added 47 yards rushing, including a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Franklin quarterback Kevin Harris completed 9 of 15 passes for 151 yards.
Andrew Heaton had 79 yards rushing, 72 coming on a second-quarter touchdown run that tied the score, 7-7.