Franklin football team hampered by injuries in 2012
But Sabers still won seven games and a playoff game
The Franklin football team has a history of not just making the state playoffs but making some noise in its bracket.
They have the pedigree to prove it. The 2006 Division 2 state title game win over Brookfield Central is arguably one of the two or three best state finals in the 36-year history of the WIAA program.
So when coach Louis Brown says that this injury-marred 7-3 campaign that had both its highs and lows, was a disappointment, people pay attention.
"We had pretty high expectations coming in," said Brown, whose team lost a second-round playoff game to current WIAA Division 1 state semifinalist Lake Geneva Badger. "We're not going to make excuses because of the injuries, but we did have a lot of key players go down especially on the defense. Our linebackers took hits all season with our best guy (Jake Fernandes) going down early.
"And we only had Chad Walton (all-purpose back) for a couple of games and (Adam) Conley (defensive end) was hampered by knee problems all fall and he still had a sensational year.
"We had a lot of kids step up, but we don't have a ton of depth like other programs. We just don't have those 30-35 seniors every year where can just plug kids in. We had high teens in terms of numbers of seniors, which is all right, but we'd like to build that up."
The high expectations started right away with a tough loss to Greater Metro Conference power Sussex Hamilton. The Sabers were 1-2 after a tough Southeast Conference loss to eventual league champion and area rival Oak Creek, but then they ripped off six straight wins, including their last five regular season tilts.
"The teams we lost to were the real deal," Brown said, "but you see things more (clearly) in the playoffs. Everything happens for a reason there and you can't make very many mistakes at that level.
"I like to think that we could compete with the top teams in the state, but the offense struggled at times this season. Not having Walton hurt, because he was a real playmaker and we had two sophomores, who will be good players in time, on the offensive line. But even Sean (quarterback McGuire) missed a game with a knee problem and he wasn't quite the same when he came back.
"Still, we won seven games and made the second round of the playoffs."
Brown really liked the senior group and believes some of them like Conley, will be scholarship players somewhere. He said the freshmen team had a good very good season and the junior varsity was solid.
"The junior group is very talented, and the sophomores have some good athletes but the group isn't very big," he said. "The kids are buying into the weight program and a lot of talented young kids got valuable time this year. They'll help us stay up towards the top of the conference again next year."
Sabers still successful this fall
TOTAL POINTS: 300 POINTS AGAINST: 179
PASSING: Seam McGuire 101 of 198 (51 percent) for 1,396 yards with 13 TDs and six interceptions; Zach Eder 19-28-264-3-1.
RUSHING: Ben Smith 128 carries for 560 yards (4.4 ypc.) with 10 TDs; Austin Meyer 77-347 (4.5)-2.
RECEIVING: Bryan Oates 25 catches for 440 yards (17.6 ypc.) and 3 TDs; Joe Falzon 33-496 (15.0)-5; Shaun Quirk 17-300 (17.6)-3.
SENIORS: Cody LaBonte, Ernie Zazueta, Eder, Colton Bunn, Greg Rand, Quirk (co-captain), Oates, Josh Fechtner, Colin Buck (co-captain), Smith, Nick Demotto, Conley (co-captain), Falzon, T.J. Bartels (co-captain), Jason Beres, Connor Traub, Trevor Beck and Nick Stawicki.
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