The beauty of Friday night’s Senior Night football game didn’t
light up the scoreboard.
It was illuminated brightly in the hearts of the players, students and the fans, as they paid tribute to the dozen seniors to be honored before the game.
The game was a spirited one, even though the Seahawks ended up on the wrong end of a 48-7 outing against the Liberty County Bulldogs.
Hunter Jordan, Liberty County’s assistant coach, said after the game that while his Bulldogs’ size enabled them to outmuscle Franklin County, the home team showed an impressive never-say-die effort.
The first quarter got the Seahawk fans on their feet, when with 7:38 left in the quarter, junior quarterback Evan Stanley hugged the sideline for an electrifying 62-yard rushing touchdown, the Seahawks’ first score of the season. Sophomore Gideon Dively nailed the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
But that would be the extent of the scoring for Franklin County, as the Bulldogs reeled off 41 straight points, and tallied 553 total yards, nearly all on the ground. Senior TyTy Braggs would score three times, senior Tryston Lopez twice, and junior Kole Ellis and freshman Joe Brinson each once, while junior Alejandro Rodriguez would hit three of four extra points, and Ellis score on a two-point conversion.
Stanley finished the game by nailing 7 of 18 pass attempts, for 26 yards, and rushed for 68 yards on seven runs. Senior Wil Varnes rushed six times for 23 yards, while sophomore Cody Abercrombie ran one time for 10 yards and caught three passes for 11 yards. In all the team amassed 88 yards on the ground and 26 in the air.
On defense junior Wyatt Abercrombie tallied seven solo tackles and six assists to lead the team.
Seahawks Coach Dirk Strunk sounded a supportive note.
“We improved from the Bell game to the Liberty game, even though it didn't show on the scoreboard,” he said. “Our kids are working hard and have a good attitude. I wouldn't trade our team for anything, we have a good group of young men who are putting in the work to build a solid foundation for the future of our program.
“We need all of Franklin County to come out and support the Seahawks this Friday night as we take on Rocky Bayou Christian School,” Strunk said.
Before the game began, 12 seniors were honored, with flowers donated by local florist, Blinging Up Daisies, and gifts presented by the Booster Club.
Jimmy Adair, the son of James and Erica Adair and a six-year football player, was escorted by his parents. He plans to pursue a career as a paramedic.
Blakely Curry, son of Bobby and Heather Curry, was escorted by his parents. A seven-year player, an injury last season left him with a broken neck that is now well on its way to being fully healed. After graduation Blakely plans to become a welder.
A four-year football player, Hunter Duval, son of Craig Duval and Andrea Pendleton, was escorted by his parents. He plans to go to Tallahassee Community College to run track and pursue a degree in business.
Bryce Gilbert, son of Jason and Cynthia Gilbert. was escorted by his parents. He has played football for three years, and plans to attend Lively Technical College to become an electrician.
Austin Staats, son of Mark and Staci Belknap, was escorted by his parents. He has played football for six years, and plans to pursue a business degree in college.
Wil Varnes, son of Bobby and Laurie Varnes, was escorted by his parents. He has played both football and baseball for 13 years, and would like to continue to play sports at the college level.
Larry Winchester, son of Selena Winchester and the late Dale Winchester, was escorted by his mother and older brother Charlie Winchester. He has played football for seven years, and plans to join the Marine Corps after graduation.
Genesis Jones, daughter of Ricky and Elizabeth Jones, was escorted by her parents. A cheerleader for six, she plans to attend Lee University.
Marina O’Neal, daughter of Travus and Brooke O’Neal, was escorted by her parents. A cheerleader for seven years , she is this year’s captain and has been selected for All-American Cheer. She plans to attend Florida State University to earn a nursing degree, and then a commission as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Saunti Turrell, daughter of Jarvis Turrell and Tremaine Ray, was escorted by her parents. She has been a cheerleader for two years, is this year’s dance co-captain, and plans are to enter the dental program at Gulf Coast State College.
Maddison Whitten, daughter of Joshua Whitten and Rhetta Strange, was escorted by her parents. A cheerleader for six years, she plans to attend the University of Alabama to pursue a degree in pediatric nursing.
Walking in memory of Hayley Creamer, who perished in an automobile accident in August 2019, were her parents, Wesley and Stephanie Creamer.
“On behalf of our beautiful daughter, we would like to thank the Franklin County School and the senior class of 2022 for remembering and including Hayley in this Senior Night,” they wrote, in words read aloud by Senior Night announcer Tara Klink. “Our family is extremely honored by the continuous love and support that has been shown to us over these past two years. Hayley loved her Seahawks and each and every one of her classmates. She wanted nothing more than to be a friend to all and always encouraged everyone she met to do their best no matter what it was they were doing.
“To the class of 2022, be prosperous, never give up on your dreams and live your life to the fullest,” they wrote. “In Hayley's famous words. ‘Shine bright and be great, period!’”
During halftime, the Senior Night festivities continued with the crowning of the new Mr. and Miss FCHS, by the Class of 2021 reigning pair, Jadyn Luberto and Jarvis Turrell.
Presented their respective crowns were the new Miss FCHS, Miya Mackenzie Maxwell, and Mr. FCHS, William Hunter Duval.
The daughter of Jimmy and Michele Maxwell, she is a member of the National Beta Club, a vice-president of the National Honor Society, and a member of the varsity volleyball team for six years. Myia’s future plans include finishing her associate’s degree over the summer, and then obtaining her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Hunter is a member of the National Honor Society and in addition to playing football for four years, he has ran track and field for three, been on the weightlifting for one, and been hunting and fishing his entire life. He plans to attend college and to become a walk-on track athlete at Tallahassee Community College.
“We would like to thank everyone who voted for us as Mr. and Miss FCHS,” Klink read, in a joint message from the honorees. “We are very thankful to have been given the opportunity to represent our school. We would also like to thank our parents, family, teachers, and friends for shaping us into the individuals we are today.
“Now we would like to take the time to remember our classmates, Hayley Creamer and Emma Jae Crum,” they wrote. “We all love and miss y’all very much. We wish nothing more than for y’all to be here; however, we know you both have the best seats in the house. Neither of you will ever be forgotten. We love you guys!”