Oil City Wins 145th Route 8 Rivalry

Tagged under: District 10, Gameday Hub, News, pfn

Shane Lux | September 17, 2023


Franklin – Oil City rushed for 330 yards as the Oilers won their sixth straight over Venango County rival.

The Oilers, who the Knights have not defeated since a 44-38 loss in 2017, scored two late third-quarter touchdowns to break open a one-score game en route to a hard-fought 36-15 victory over Franklin.

“I thought Franklin played their butts off,” said Oil City head coach Dan York. “They had a nice scheme. We weren’t picking things up, especially in that first half. We figured some things out in the second half, but I can’t take anything away from Franklin.”

Oil City enjoyed the return of star tailback Ethen Knox – Knox has rushed for 584 yards in Oil City’s first two wins over Warren and Corry by scores of 76-0 and 44-7, respectively.

Last week, Knox did not play in a 35-0 loss to North East. Though on Saturday night, he didn’t play on defense against the Knights’ the senior standout still put up monster numbers, rushing for 260 yards on 39 carries and scoring four touchdowns.

One thing was for sure: on Saturday night, Franklin came play, and play they did.

Following a scoreless first quarter, the Knights took the lead after holding the Oilers on a 4th-and-2 at their 35-yard line. Five plays later, Bryson Watson scored on a 7-yard run.

Bryson Watson 7 yd run, Franklin 8 Oil City 0, 6:23 2nd, @MatthewTurk11

— Shane Lux (@PFN_Luxy) September 16, 2023

The drive’s big play was a 28-yard pass from Jason Carey to Trystin Boocks. Watson led Franklin, rushing for 74 yards on 20 carries.

“It’s hard to contain one of the best running backs in the country,” said Franklin head coach Matt Turk. “We got up early 8-0. I told my guys that is what we drew up. We’re supposed to be here. To go into halftime 14-8, knowing we were getting the ball, made us very comfortable. In past years, we’d go into the locker room at 48-0. We’d have our junior varsity players in begging for them to do the same. That didn’t happen tonight. It’s a rivalry game, so we wiped the slate clean, the guys believed, and they play like they did.”

The Oilers quickly tied the game when Knox scored on an 11-yard run succeding a 61-yard pass from Cole Findlay to De’Vaughn Griffin.

In the closing minute of the first half, Sean Alexander returned a punt 53 yards to the Knights’ 22-yard line, leading to Findlay’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Justen Dunkle with 30 seconds to play in the first half.

Justen Dunkle 10 yd TD from Cole Findlay, Oil City 14 Franklin 8, 0:30 2nd, @OilersFB @Oil_City_Sports

— Shane Lux (@PFN_Luxy) September 16, 2023


Oil City led 14-8 at halftime.

Cole Findlay intercepted a Jason Carey pass on the initial drive, leading to Knox scoring on a 6-yard run where he accounted for all 41 yards.

Franklin didn’t go away and marched 63 yards in six plays when Alex Wible scored on a 12-yard pulling the Knights to within 23-15 with 6:43 to play in the third quarter.

“Our program turned on a dime tonight,” Turk said. “We were out weighted on the line, and we moved the ball, we ran the ball well. I don’t think anyone in this country thought we would be 0-0 after a quarter. I saw one prediction that said 85-0. Mad respect to Oil City’s program; they’ve done a phenomenal job. For them to respect us at the end was huge.”

From there, Ethen Knox scored his third and fourth touchdowns of the game, scoring on runs of 19 and 60 yards in the final three minutes of the third stanza following 80 and 63-yard drives.

“We adjusted some things that we were doing offensively in the second half,” York said. “They kept blitzing a linebacker to the one side, so we had to move our fullback in front of him to the side we were running to, and that straightened some things out for us.”

Franklin held Knox in check in the first half, as he was limited to 64 yards on 19 carries. The third quarter was different, as he ripped off 175 yards while rushing for 196 in the second half.

“Ethen was rested because he didn’t play defense,” York said. “He was over here on the sideline when our defense was out there. Once he gets healthy, we’ll be ready to roll.” 

Oil City’s defense also stepped up in the fourth quarter, forcing four consecutive three-and-outs on the Knights’ remaining drives.

The Oilers will look to continue their momentum next week when they host Northwestern.

Franklin falls to 0-4 on the season and travels to Erie next Friday night to play Mercyhurst Prep.

“At the end of the day, our kids play tough week in and week out,” Turk concluded.”We’re not going to disrespect or overlook any programs, but there’s a part of our schedule in the middle where there are some winnable games. We know we have Mercyhurst Prep next, and they’re a great team.”

Game Highlights:

Oil City 36 Franklin 15

Score by Quarters

Oil City – 0 14 22 0 – 36
Franklin – 0 8 7 0 – 15

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter

F – Bryson Watson 7 yd run, (Cole Buckley rush), 6:23 – 5-35

OC – Ethen Knox 11 yd run, (Knox rush), 4:01 – 5-80

OC – Justen Dunkle 10 yd pass from Cole Findlay, (rush failed), 0:30 – 3-22

Third Quarter

OC – Knox 6 yd run, (Knox rush), 8:21 – 5-41

F – Alex Wible 12 yd run, (Nathan Ffennigwerth pat), 6:43 – 6-63

OC – Knox 19 yd run, (Jonny Hargenrader from Cole Lindlay), 3:06 – 8-80

OC – Knox 60 yd run, (pass failed), 0:07 – 3-63

Individual Stats

Rushing: OC – Knox 39-260, Hargenrader 4-62, Findlay 1-1, Aiden Thompson 1-7, Team 2-0. Totals: 47-330. F – Watson 20-74, Jason Carey 4-(-20), Buckley 2-16, Wilble 1-12, Team 1-0. Totals: 28-10.

Receiving: OC – Dunkle 1-10, De’Vaughn Griffin 1-61. F – Trystin Boocks 2-35, Buckley 1-(-2), Dreyden Payne 1-12.

Passing: OC – Findlay 2-for-4, 71 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. F – Lynch 4-for-15, 45 yards, 2 INT.

Interceptions: OC – Hank Lockhart, Findlay. F – Payne.

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