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Wenonah High School Works Overtime to Claim Class 1A-5A Flag Championship

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Wenonah High School quarterback Samarian Franklin lifted the Dragons to AHSAA Class 1A-5A flag football championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. (AHSAA)

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

TUSCALOOSA – Wenonah High School quarterback Samarian Franklin didn’t find anyone open so she sprinted toward the goal line. She didn’t need to.
Franklin’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down in overtime lifted the Dragons to an 18-12 victory over Montgomery Catholic, coached by Whitney Toole, in Wednesday’s AHSAA Class 1A-5A flag football championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“She likes to run anyway,” Wenonah coach Cedric Lane said. “She did what she does best.”
According to flag football’s overtime procedure, each team gets the ball first-and-10 at the 10, essentially giving four downs to get 10 yards. Montgomery Catholic won the toss and took the ball first in overtime, but three incomplete passes and a short run left the game tied a 12-all.
Franklin said Lane told her to look for running opportunities in overtime, and the Dragons eventually faced fourth-and-1. Franklin took the snap, looked for an open receiver, sprinted left and jumped into the end zone as several defenders reached for her flag.
“The last play, he told me to run,” Franklin said.
Franklin started the scoring with a 12-ard TD pass to Jakerria Ringstaff, and the Knights responded with Jehle Dickson’s 4-yard TD pass to Anna Russo to tie it at 6-all.

Wenonah took a 12-6 lead with five seconds to go in the first half, as Ringstaff scored on a 66-yard punt return.
“I just kept running and running until they said TD,” Ringstaff said.
The Knights tied the game at 12-12 on Dickson’s 32-yard TD pass to Kate Robertson in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was scoreless, but Franklin connected with Ringstaff for a 40-yard catch-and-run in the final seconds. Montgomery Catholic’s Haley Ishman pulled her flag at the 1 with two seconds to go and then the defense stopped the Dragons on final play to force overtime.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” Toole said. “They didn’t’ quit. They didn’t give up.”
Added Dickson, “To fall short when it’s right there, it’s hard. I think we all gave it everything we had.”
Franklin completed 18-of-32 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown and added 32 yards on 10 carries. She also punted four times for a 26.8-yard average.
Catholic’s Dickson completed 18-of-37 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and Anna Russo caught 11 passes for 73 yards and a score. Russo also ran twice for 12 yards and punted four times for a 31.5-yard average and had six tackles and a sack on defense.
For the second straight year, all games at the Super 7 will be televised live over the Alabama Public Television Network. The games are being produced by the NFHS Network with Vince Earley and his WOTM TV crew producing the games. All games will also be live streamed over the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network as well.
Tickets can be purchased online through GoFan at https://gofan.co/app/school/AHSAA.