Week six of the 2017 season of U.S. Cellular Thursday Night Lights presented by Northwest Surgery Center featured a Southeast Conference showdown between two power house programs: the Franklin Sabers and Kenosha Bradford Red Devils, on Thursday, September 21st. The My24 Sports Team, our sponsorship partners, and fans of all ages packed the stands at Mary D. Bradford Stadium on a beautiful night for football. Members of the United States Army presented the Color Guard, and the sixth game of the season got officially underway.
The Salvation Army had barrels on site to collect book donations for their drive (with a goal of collecting 10,000 books) from supportive fans, and the fans were happy to answer the call! Whether or not you'll be in attendance at a U.S. Cellular Thursday Night Lights broadcast game this season, you can donate new books to support The Salvation Army's goal of providing area children books this holiday season.
In what would prove to be a thrilling shoot out, the first quarter of regulation was quiet in comparison. After exchanging punts early on, Franklin drew first blood in the match-up, finding the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run late in the period. They followed it up with an onside kick attempt which they recovered but failed to capitalize on. The Sabers would create and recover a fumble early in the second quarter, but the ensuing drive ended with a turnover on downs. Franklin would extend their lead to 14 after connecting on a 30-yard touchdown strike before Bradford would find their footing at the end of the half. The Red Devils answered with a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the lead in half, but would miss a 37-yard field goal attempt to end the first half of play.
At halftime, two lucky fans were chosen to take the field with a chance to throw three 20-yard passes at a tarp's target on the 50-yard line. Various prize values are represented on the tarp, with a bullseye netting the contestant $5,000 in home renovation package value from Window Depot of Milwaukee. The night's contestants connected for $100 and $500 wins, and more fans will get the same opportunity each week for the rest of the season!
An exciting second half ramped up with a wild third quarter that featured a little bit of everything imaginable on the field of play. Bradford came out carrying the momentum they had built heading into the half, blocking and recovering a punt, leading to a 13-yard touchdown scamper that would tie the game at 14-all. The Red Devils continued to pressure the Sabers, recovering a fumble recovery on Franklin's next possession. A 38-yard touchdown strike would give Bradford their first lead of the game. The Sabers regrouped and connected on a 8-yard pitch-and-catch of their own to tie the game, 21-21. Franklin would create a takeaway as a deflected Red Devils pass was intercepted on the next possession, leading to a 2-yard touchdown run with under a minute to play in the period. The momentum swing was short lived, however, as Bradford struck with a 68-yard touchdown reception to head into the final quarter knotted at 28s.
The Red Devils kept their foot on the pedal, capping a drive with a 11-yard touchdown run and attempting an onside kick of their own. Franklin would expose the field position of the onside kick, ending the short field drive off with a 16-yard touchdown run to tie the game, 35-35 with just over eight minutes left in regulation. Bradford recovered a mishandled punt return on the ensuing series, but failed to use the field position to their advantage. The Sabers held their ground and forced a punt. As regulation neared an end, tensions and emotions were boiling over on the sidelines and in the stands thanks to a few penalty flags thrown on key plays in the closing minutes. Franklin cleared the uprights with a 37-yard field goal to take a 38-35 lead with 1:17 remaining, but Bradford thrilled the crowd by drilling a 30-yard field goal of their own with eight seconds left in the game, which lead to overtime.
The Red Devils opened overtime on the 25-yard line, but failed to build much momentum. They settled on attempting a 37-yard field goal and converted to put scoring pressure on the Sabers. Franklin stepped up to the challenge, and ended the epic showdown by hammering home a 2-yard touchdown run to seal the well-deserved victory in a game that won't soon be forgotten. FINAL SCORE: FRANKLIN SABERS 44 - KENOSHA BRADFORD RED DEVILS 41
Now in its eight season of broadcasts, U.S. Cellular Thursday Night Lights presented by Northwest Surgery Center is an effort of the My24 Sports Team to put a spotlight on local high schools and their talented students and faculty members, as well as community members effecting positive change and contributions. Scholar Athletes are nominated for recognition by their schools each week, with one student set to receive a $5,000 College Scholarship courtesy of Orthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin.
Watch the complete game broadcast above, including the Window Depot Pre-Game Show, and keep it locked to My24Milwaukee.com all season for more U.S. Cellular Thursday Night Lights presented by Northwest Surgery Center action!