Franklin, Ind. - The Franklin College football team won its sixth straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) championship with a 35-7 Senior Day victory over Defiance College on Saturday at Faught Stadium. The title earned the Grizzlies the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Franklin (7-2, 7-0 HCAC) led 28-0 at halftime and increased its margin to 35 points midway through the third quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Chase Burton (Corydon, Ind./Corydon Central) threw four touchdowns, and rushed for another score, in leading a Franklin offense that gained 574 yards.
Burton hooked up with junior running back Kole Stogner (Greenwood, Ind./Greenwood) on a 47-yard touchdown for the first scoring pass of the game, coming with 8:48 left in the first quarter.
Sophomore wing back Lee Wroblewski (Salem, Ind./Paoli) caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to give Franklin a 14-0 lead with 12:41 remaining in the first half. The play capped a 15-play, 87-yard drive.
Then, on the Grizzlies' next possession, a 47-yard pass from Burton to senior tight end Dylan Jenney (Floyds Knobs, Ind./Floyd Central) put the team at the one-yard line. Burton followed the senior-laden offensive line for a touchdown at the 8:57 mark of the second quarter.
Franklin's final two scores covered 54- and 56-yards through the air, with passes caught by senior wing back Kendal Butler (Toledo, Ill./Cumberland) and senior split end Mason Deal (Indianapolis, Ind./Perry Meridian).
Burton ended the game with 28 completions and a career-high 474 passing yards. Butler was his favorite target, with 10 receptions for 143 yards and a score. Deal added six catches for 136 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, senior back Eli Moore (Kingman, Ind./Fountain Central) tied two Defiance defenders for game-high honors with eight tackles. Senior linebacker Jeremiah Windell (Corydon, Ind./Corydon Central) added seven tackles, while senior defensive lineman Nate Bryan (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) made six stops. Senior linebacker Lucas Windell (Corydon, Ind./Corydon Central) rounded out the balanced defensive attack with five tackles.
Prior to the game Franklin honored 14 senior student-athletes and several support staff for their contributions to the football program. The senior football players have won 32 games, 30 of 31 HCAC games, and four conference titles.
Franklin returns to action on Saturday, November 14, at 1:30 p.m. when it travels to Hanover College for the Victory Bell Classic. Follow the Grizzlies on Twitter (@FCAthletics). Like the Grizzlies on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinCollegeAthletics), and on Instagram (@fcgrizzlies).