Willie Patterson was at team breakfast Friday morning when his coach informed him and the rest of the Franklin Pierce High School football team that The News Tribune had predicted a loss Friday night to Fife.
“We got fired up because of that,” Patterson said. “We wanted to prove we were the better team.”
Patterson threw for a career-best 231 yards and two touchdowns; Tanner Bloom had five catches for 143 yards, two touchdowns and a fumble recovery; and Franklin Pierce held off visiting Fife late for a 38-35 2A South Puget Sound League victory.
The Cardinals (4-2; 4-0 SPSL) moved into first place with the win. Fife fell to 4-2 and 3-1.
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Franklin Pierce outscored Fife 31-7 over the second and third quarters after trailing 7-0 after the first quarter, when the Cardinals had nothing going.
Actually, less than nothing. The Cardinals had zero yards passing and minus-1 yard rushing.
Franklin Pierce had 190 more total yards of offense in the second quarter than in the first. Patterson hit Bloom for a 20-yard touchdown pass, Cameron Myers hit a 22-yard field goal and Alex Bing ran 45 yards to set up DJ Sallier’s 5-yard TD run for a 17-7 lead.
“We just had to pick it up as a line and get the line going,” said senior lineman Dakota Smith.
Bloom later caught a bubble screen, made a defender miss and cut back across the field for an 80-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put Franklin Pierce ahead 31-14. Fife’s Tanner Knapp, who had 22 carries for 178 yards, cut the lead with a TD run, but the Cardinals answered with Sallier’s 77-yard kickoff return to make it 38-21.
Fife scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including Kyle Mozzone’s 14-yard TD pass to CJ Polo with 9.8 seconds left to cut the lead to three points, but the ensuing onside kick bounced out of bounds.
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle from the beginning,” said Fife coach Kent Nevin. “They are well-coached and they have a lot of speed. We had them bottled up, and then we let them out. We take care of that, I think it’s a different outcome. We beat ourselves to a certain extent.
“They are a great team, but we hurt ourselves.”
Said Franklin Pierce coach Howard Lutton: “We knew it was going to be a tight game, a nail-biter and not predictable.”
Fife’s standout senior running back Austin Woods missed his fifth consecutive game with a bruised knee. He hasn’t played since rushing for more than 100 yards in the first quarter in Week 1 against Shadle Park — the Trojans’ only loss coming in — after recording 1,262 all-purpose yards last season.