IC Catholic finds right 'mindset' in second half
Everything that seemingly could go wrong did for the IC Catholic Prep football team in the first half Saturday.
But over the final two quarters, the Knights showed the mettle of a three-time defending state champion.
Behind four touchdown runs by Kyle Franklin and a clutch catch from Chauncey Lee, ICCP stormed from behind to defeat Stillman Valley 35-14 in a Class 4A second-round playoff matchup.
"It was just about our mindset," Franklin said of what changed in the second half. "Everyone has a job to fill and we were all trying to do multiple jobs (in the first half) instead of doing one job. In the second half we got in our minds to just do our jobs and keep working."
After having a pair of touchdowns called back by penalty in the first half, Franklin's 47-yard TD run to start the third quarter finally erased a 7-0 halftime lead. Then the Knights recovered the ensuing kickoff and Franklin scored again from 9 yards out.
The Cardinals (9-2) answered with a long touchdown drive before Chauncey Lee gave his team the lead for good with a 68-yard reception from Danny Cronin.
Lee, who had a couple of potential TDs slip through his fingers in the first half, finished with 5 catches for 100 yards.
"At the half my teammates picked me up," Lee said. "My coaches picked me up. That was a big thing going into the second half. I have to thank my teammates for that. They gave me a boost."
Franklin later found the end zone from 23 and 31 yards out in the fourth quarter and finished with 209 yards on 20 carries, 193 of which came over the final 24 minutes.
Kevin Akins led the defense with 6 tackles, a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. The Knights held Stillman Valley to 26 yards passing.
"The defense is a huge part of this team," said Akins, a four-year varsity player. "We just try to hold the opponent to as few of points as possible every game. We want to show that IC is one of the best defenses in the state."
ICCP (10-1) will hit the road for a rematch with Richmond-Burton in the quarterfinals.
"The kids changed gears at halftime," ICCP coach Bill Krefft said. "They started worrying about going home and they wanted another week together. But if we are going to go where we want to go, we have to play four quarters instead of two.
"I didn't think we played that bad in the first half. But in the second half we hit on 5 of 5 drives and in the first half we missed on 5 of 5 drives. It just comes down to execution."