Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Irving RB rushes for 291 yards, 5 TDs to lift Tigers over rival MacArthur, 49-25, and into playoffs
IRVING — Antonio Franklin took advantage of his opportunity to deal misery to both of Irving’s city rivals.
The senior running back rushed for 291 yards and five touchdowns in a playoff-clinching 49-25 victory over Irving MacArthur Friday night at Irving Schools Stadium.
Not only did Irving (6-4, 3-3 in District 6-5A) snap a five-year losing streak to MacArthur (3-7, 2-5), but also ended the playoff hopes of Irving Nimitz. Nimitz (4-6, 3-4) would have advanced to the playoffs with an Irving defeat.
“I felt like it was going to happen,” said Franklin, a senior. “I hadn’t scored many touchdowns in recent games, and I was trying to prove a point to myself.”
Franklin scored first half touchdowns of 4, 11 and 52 yards, on the longest untouched between the hash marks, and added scores of 6 and 10 yards in the final half.
Quarterback Christian Garcia kept the MacArthur defense off-balance with ball-handling, keepers and occasional percentage passes. Garcia finished with 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Michael Coley made the key defensive play for Irving with a leaping end zone interception of Anthony James in the first half when MacArthur trailed 13-6.
Aaron De La Torre, in his second season as Irving head coach, presented the game ball afterward to his predecessor, longtime Irving coach Jim Bennett.
“Our philosophy tonight was to run the ball and play tough against the run,” said the second-year coach. “The credit goes to our kids for working hard.”
The playoff berth for Irving is its first since 2008. The Tigers will host Coppell next Friday.
Trailing 26-13 at half, MacArthur closed to within eight points on the second touchdown run of the night by Artiss Henderson (13 carries, 69 yards).
Jeffery Kincade, inserted at quarterback late in the first half, led the Cardinals on three touchdown drives, hitting Mykeal Webster with a 24-yard touchdown pass in the final MacArthur points.