INDIANAPOLIS — There was no shortage of scoring in the first quarter of Columbus North’s Conference Indiana football game at Franklin Central Friday night.
Three touchdowns were scored within one minute, 18 seconds during the first quarter. Franklin Central got the best of the Class 6A No. 9 Bull Dogs in the first half and held on for the 28-20 victory, handed North its first loss of the season.
“The goal from here is to become a better football team in Week 5 than we were in Week 4,” North coach Tim Bless said. “Ultimately, we tip our hat to the Franklin Central Flashes. They had a great game plan, they executed and their kids played very hard. I’m proud of our kids that we didn’t stop fighting.”
The Franklin Central offense stayed on the field for the first 9:24 of the first quarter on its way to scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run from Michael Pitz.
It didn’t take long for the Bull Dogs (3-1, 1-1) to respond with a 96-yard kickoff return from J.D. Harris. The quick score put the North defense back on the field after just one special teams play.
“That was a quick answer,” Bless said. “You never not want points, but that was a time where our defense could have stood some time off the field to scheme up a little bit to catch our breath.”
Pitz broke for a 63-yard touchdown just 63 seconds later, and the Bull Dogs found themselves down 21-6 at halftime.
North scored on the first drive of the third quarter on a Jaylen Flemmons catch from quarterback Trenton Kelley to cut the lead to 21-12.
The Bull Dogs scored on another Kelley-to-Flemmons connection with 5:13 left in the game and needed a defensive stop to get the ball back. They forced the Flashes (3-1, 2-0) into three third downs, but could not stop Pitz from moving the sticks, and Franklin Central converted on all three third downs to run out the clock.
Pitz ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Flemmons finished with nine receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Kelley threw for 143 yards and two scores, completing 17 of his 25 passes.
North outscored Franklin Central 14-7 in the second half.
“That doesn’t surprise me a bit,” Bless said. “I know the character of our young men and their mental toughness and their conditioning. We fought gallantly to get back into the thing, but ultimately we couldn’t get the stops defensively when we needed them.”