Aside from an inordinate number of penalty flags, the host Franklin County Wildcats executed exceptionally well Friday in a 54-0 shutout of the visiting Rushville Lions. The loss was the 17th consecutive defeat for the Lions on the gridiron going back to 2019.

Senior all-purpose standout Jacob Schatzle scored four straight touchdowns to put his team up 34-0 midway through the third quarter. The Wildcats would score again late in the frame to force a running clock for the entirety of the fourth stanza.

The yellow markers came early and often for the home team, but two holding calls and a false start in succession weren’t enough to keep the Cats from reaching the end zone on the game’s opening drive.

A 14-yard completion from junior Brady Morehead to senior Tyreke Carr put FC into the red zone; however, after the motion call and two spot holding calls, the ball was placed back at the 39-yard-line. On the next snap, Morehead hooked up with senior Kristian Prows for a 39-yard strike down the left sideline.

Following a Lion three-and-out, Franklin County was signaled for a hold on the punt return and a false start to begin the series. On 2nd-and-6, Schatzle raced around the right edge, virtually untouched, for a 65-yard touchdown.
Rushville’s next possession was also a three-and-out, but the Lions went for it on 4th-and-4 and turned the ball over at their own 43.

The Wildcats made it 3-of-3 on touchdown possessions despite (yes) a holding and offside call and a 9-yard loss when Morehead was stripped of the pigskin. Senior Bridger Bolos broke off a 26-yard gain to the Lions’ 21 and added a 9-yard scamper. Schatzle was wide open in the end zone for a 12-yard TD and 22-0 lead.

A nice run by sophomore Harper Miller, Rushville’s third starting quarterback in as many weeks after Austin Vance and Adam Sizemore, netted the Lions their initial first down ahead of the quarter break. Three plays later, though, RCHS punted again.

The hosts needed just three plays from scrimmage to go up by four scores. A swing pass to Bolos gained 20 yards and Morehead followed that with a 27-yard TD pass to Schatzle.

The teams battled near midfield for the rest of the half, trading turnovers on downs. FC was flagged for two more holds on its last drive of the half.
After a first-down carry by Miller early in the third period, a bad snap led to a 4th-and-17 punting situation. Schatzle reversed field for what appeared to be a punt return for six, though a holding call brought the ball back to FC’s 23.
On the next play, Schatzle made a dazzling one-hand catch for 38 yards that put the Cats promptly into Lion territory. Morehead gained a first down to the 29 before continuing his Ken Stabler to Cliff Branch impression with Schatzle; this one went for 29 yards. A missed pass on the conversion delayed the running clock.

Late in the third, Rushville moved to FC’s 41 before Bolos picked up a botched handoff and returned it 14 yards. A sweep to Schatzle went for 35 yards and 1st-and-goal at the 6. Bolos banged in and Morehead ran in the conversion for a 42-0 advantage.

Bolos later had a 50-yard TD run called back on a personal foul penalty but went right back to work with three carries for 56 yards, capped by a 16-yard score. The reserves played out the last of the game.

FC outgained the Lions by more than a 6:1 ratio, nearly compiling 500 yards of offense. Morehead passed for over 200 yards and Schatzle had nearly 230 yards from scrimmage. Leading the defensive effort were senior Kaden Erfman and junior Bryce Hodapp with 5 tackles each; Erfman had 3 tackles for loss and senior Austin Hill 2. Dylan Thompson was credited with 8 tackles for RCHS and Landon Browning 7.

FC (3-0) will attempt to break a 26-game series losing streak to conference foe East Central when the Trojans come to Wildcat Field Friday, 7 p.m. Rushville (0-3) will be at Batesville to begin conference play.

Wildcats 54, Lions 0
Rushville – 0 0 0 0 - 0
Franklin Co. – 22 6 14 12 - 54
First Quarter
FC – Prows 39-yard pass from Morehead, 9:56. Bolos run.
FC – Schatzle 65-yard run, 7:34. Schatzle pass from Morehead.
FC – Schatzle 12-yard pass from Morehead, 1:58. Pass failed.
Second Quarter
FC – Schatzle 27-yard pass from Morehead, 7:49. Run failed.
Third Quarter
FC – Schatzle 29-yard pass from Morehead, 6:27. Pass failed.
FC – Bolos 6-yard run, 1:10. Morehead run.
Fourth Quarter
FC – Bolos 16-yard run, 5:40. Pass failed.
FC – Quinn Gillman 16-yard run, :05. No PAT attempted.
Total yards: R 79, FC 491
Passing: R 2, FC 208
Rushing: R 77, FC 283
First downs: R 5, FC 10
Fumbles/lost: R 1/1, FC 1/0
Penalties: R 3-15, FC 12-105
Rushville – Rushing: H. Miller 18-41, Drew Miller 6-13, Komlanc 17-22, Thompson 1-1. Passing: H. Miller 2-4-2. Receiving: Thompson 1-2, Komlanc 1-0.
Franklin Co.- Rushing: Bolos 10-115, Schatzle 4-111, Morehead 5-23, Branson Galyen 1-0, Jadon Napier 1-9, Andrew Merritt 1-4, Gillman 2-21. Passing: Morehead 11-19-208. Receiving: Prows 2-53, Schatzle 6-117, Bolos 1-20, Carr 2-18.

(Stats should be considered unofficial)