Senior staff writer
Just like all running backs, Southport standout Andrew Mappes wants the football in his hands. So does first-year Cardinals coach Brandon Winters.
Mappes ran for 134 yards and scored Southport’s last two touchdowns Friday as the Cardinals spoiled Franklin Central’s homecoming 28-13 at Ray Skillman Stadium. He scored on a 25-yard run for a 21-7 lead near the end of the first half and on a blistering 50-yard sprint around the left side for a commanding 28-13 lead with 5:37 left in Conference Indiana tilt.
“He is a really good fourth-quarter back,” Winters praised. “He’s so big, strong and fast that he’s able to finish for touchdowns. He conditions hard, practices hard and plays hard.”
Southport loosened the Flashes’ defense in the first quarter with a passing attack that put up two TDs on Ed Schott’s short pass to Matt Johnston and a 13-yarder to Justice Demers. Schott completed 12-of- 17 of his passes in the first half for 142 yards.
Mappes, a 6-1, 215-pound senior, recalled the scenario and said, “With our passing attack being so good in the first half, we knew they would drop back and spread out so we told our line to step up and play ‘hamburger’ for the next half.
“I try to get one long touchdown each game. Going forward, I think our line is coming together; we’re starting to bond as a team.”
Franklin Central’s offense succeeded on two drives that took a combined 17 minutes off the clock. Michael Pitz scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 13-play, 58-yard drive in the second quarter and a 19-yard run to highlight a 17-play, 90-yard march.
“Our offense looked great on those two dives, and that’s what you need more of when you play a team like Southport that depends on big plays,” Flashes coach Grant Lewis said. “We really thought we could go in at halftime down only 14-7, and we hit him (Mappes) in the backfield but could not capitalize on stopping him.”
FC’s Pitz rushed for 137 yards and Jaylen Brown ran 62 yards in the first half. Excessive penalties that mounted to 105 yards killed the Flashes on several drives and on defense.
“Those penalties came back to haunt us continuously; no team is going to be successful with as many penalties (13) as we had,” Lewis said.
The Cardinals (3-3, 3-1) remain in the Conference Indiana title chase while the Flashes fall to 2-4, 1-3.