Franklin (3-0) scored five times, but amassed only 284 yards of offense. The Flyers were able to do that by taking advantage of good field position the Rebels gave them.
Franklin's average starting field position on its five scoring drives was the Casey 45-yard line. Only once did Franklin start a scoring drive on its own half of the field, and twice the Flyers took over inside the Casey 30. Franklin's two best starting positions came from two Casey errors: a Josh Swango punt that ricocheted off a teammate's head and was recovered at the Casey 29 in the first quarter and an interception by Corey Harris at the Casey 23 in the fourth quarter.
Casey trailed just 14-6 at the half, and came back to score on a 13-yard run by Kyle Long with 5:25 to play in the third quarter to draw to within 14-12. The two-point conversion failed, and Franklin extended its lead just under two minutes later.
Colton Riggs fielded the kickoff at the nine and returned it across midfield to the Casey 49. It took Franklin just seven plays to score on a 3-yard pass from Kaelin Ammons to Michael Gearhart.
After Casey turned the ball over on downs, Franklin scored again on a 9-yard pass from Ammons to Shane McDonald after converting on three third-down plays.
Three second half turnovers for Casey
Casey actually controlled the ball one minute longer than Franklin did in the second half, but three Casey turnovers after halftime made it seem like the Rebels' defense was in constant action.
"It seemed to me we played defense the whole second half," Stephens said. "We had a lot of opportunities to move the ball and to score, and we just didn't do it. Our drive for a touchdown was only a 20-yard drive, so it didn't last but a minute, and then you're back on defense again. We couldn't get anything going on offense and we couldn't get the defense a break."
Part of Casey's problem on offense was an inability to get a rhythm going on snaps. Long was having trouble digging up several low snaps from senior center Andrew Merkel, including a 19-yard loss on a fourth-and-11 play in which the snap skipped past Long and he was forced to dive on it and turn the ball over on downs.
Eventually, Stephens put sophomore Phillip Andrews at center in the second half.
"When the snap's low, it throws the timing off for the entire play," Stephens said. "Everything after that is out of sync, especially if you're running any misdirections or traps off of it. It really hurt us."
Casey finished with 214 yards of offense, including 68 yards rushing and a touchdown from sophomore running back Ricky Marrapodi. Long added 63 yards rushing and completed seven of 11 passes for 56 yards and two interceptions. Swango was 0-for-3 in his one series.
Ammons was able to mix in short passes with some big gainers to pass for 165 yards against the Rebels. He connected with 10 different receivers, completing 15 of 29 passes and throwing for three scores. He carried the ball 18 times for 40 yards.
"If you take away what he did in the fourth quarter on a couple runs, we really held him in check," Stephens said. "He hurt us scrambling. He scrambled two, three times and our cover guys would leave their position or leave their area and he completed passes on us."