By Whitman McGee
In what Head Coach Spencer Heard described as a “do or die situation” in terms of a playoff berth, the Minden Crimson Tide (4-6) defeated the determined Franklin Parish Patriots (1-8) by a final score of 35-34.
Franklin Parish won the coin toss and elected to defer to the 2nd half.
Minden marched their way down the field, taking up half of the 1st quarter, en route to Daylen Robinson’s 10th rushing touchdown of the year. Carter Barnett hit the extra point; Tide lead 7-0.
The Patriots scored 3 consecutive touchdowns that compiled together to create a 20-7 lead over Minden early on in the 2nd quarter.
Stunned by the tenacity of this Franklin Parish squad, it was evident the Tide was on the ropes.
But Daylen Robinson came through, rushing in from 6 yards out for his second of three total scores on the night.
Following a defensive stand that resulted in a Franklin Parish punt, Minden tied the score, 20-20. Cameron Mitchell accounted for 47 yards on this drive and caught Andrew Cooper’s touchdown pass from 10 yards out.
Franklin Parish WR Javion White returned the kickoff for 43 yards, from the Patriot’s 19-yard line to the Tide’s 38.
Aided by some questionable penalties, the Patriots scored through the air and completed their 2-point conversion attempt.
Minden kneeled with 12 seconds left in the first half, making the score 28-20 with Franklin Parish on top going into halftime.
Following a Tide failed onside attempt, Franklin Parish found itself in great field position on Minden’s 48-yard line.
However, the Tide’s defensive unit clamped up, forcing a 3 & out, capped off by LB D’Quontez Ridley’s 11th career sack.
Next, the Tide embarked on a 12 play, 66-yard drive mixing the air attack with the run game. QB Andrew Cooper broke off an explosive 32-yard rush on a jet-sweep QB-option.
In excellent field position, the Tide handed the ball off to workhorse Dayton Robinson, who shoved his way in for the touchdown and impending 2-point conversion. The game was tied up, 28-28, with 6:10 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Patriots weren’t done yet though, lofting up a 77-yard touchdown score. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good, but Franklin Parish still had the 6-point cushion.
Minden began to put a drive together behind some tough running by LB/RB Kentravion Lister but ultimately turned the ball over on 4th down.
Franklin Parish compiled the longest drive of the game and stormed down the field, ending up at the Tide’s 5-yard line.
After rushing twice with no luck as Minden’s front 7 held firm, the Patriots felt they had no choice but to air it out.
Under heavy pressure, Franklin Parish QB Bryce Curtis threw the ball right into the hands of Tide’s Isaiah Thornton, who ran from endzone to endzone for the 99-yard Minden touchdown.
Carter Barnett nailed what would wind up being the game-winning extra-point.
Franklin Parish came into Friday night’s season finale with a 1-7 record, but they proved what Coach Heard mentioned going into the game. Their record was not indicative of the type of team that they are.
They played their hearts out and gave their all in what was, in all likelihood, their last game of the 2021 season.
For this reason, it was nice to see many of the Tide players consoling the Patriots postgame in a sign of great sportsmanship, which is what the game is really all about.
With this game now in the win column for Minden, it looks very likely that we’ll see the Tide suit up for post-season action.
Be sure to check in The Journal this upcoming week for updates on who Minden will be lined up against come the 1st round of the playoffs.
Special thanks to Mark Chreene and KASO/KBEF for supplying the Journal with stats from Friday night’s game.
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