ELWOOD — The Frankton offense had been held in check by their first four opponents this season, scoring just 39 points in their 0-4 start.
The offense came alive Friday night, and the Elwood Panthers bore the brunt of Frankton venting its frustration.
The Eagles dominated on the ground, scoring touchdowns on each of their six first-half possessions on their way to a 41-12 rout of Elwood for their first win.
It was the fourth straight win over their Central Indiana Conference rivals for Frankton.
The 41-0 halftime lead resulted in a second-half running clock, but the Eagles piled up the numbers in the first half.
“It’s huge, and you can’t discount how important it was to execute the game plan and score,” Frankton coach Bobby Ryan said. “That’s something we have not been able to do all year. I thought the kids played really well, I thought they played clean and I thought they blocked really well.”
The Eagles rolled up 182 yards on the ground before halftime as four Frankton ball carriers also found the end zone.
Frankton (1-4) took the opening kickoff and drove 62 yards with junior Korbin Finley pounding in from 3 yards out for the game’s opening score.
Finley carried 11 times for 79 yards and did not play in the second half.
In what would become a regular occurence in the first half, Elwood put together a solid drive, but mistakes short circuited any scoring chances.
On the arm of freshman quarterback Chance Martin, the Panthers drove to the Frankton 35-yard line. But a holding penalty and fumbled snap put Elwood behind the chains with a second-and-29, and the drive stalled.
Frankton needed just four plays to score again. After senior quarterback Gavin Ward found senior Noah Griffis for a 46-yard pass play, Brady Waymire scored the first of his pair of 2-yard touchdown runs and the Eagles were up 14-0.
The biggest scoring play came after Dylan Berkebile recovered an Elwood fumble.
Jaxon McCorkle, who finished the first half with 124 yards rushing, broke through for a 54-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After the Panthers turned the ball over on downs, Frankton went to the air for its next score.
Ward hit Luke Sheward for an 11-yard touchdown with 9:10 left in the second quarter. It was the first passing TD of the year for Frankton, and it led 28-0 on its way to Ward’s first win as starting quarterback.
“For me as a coach, to watch what Gavin has done for this program and get him that win, it meant more for me to watch him do that than it probably meant for him to get it,” Ryan said.
Following an Elwood punt, Waymire scored again after a seven-play drive and, to add insult to injury, the Panthers fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which was recovered by Frankton’s Broderick Baysinger.
Luke Harrison helped Frankton capitalize with a 7-yard scoring run to cap the Eagles’ offensive day.
For most of the night, the play of Martin was the highlight for Elwood. Prior to the second-half running clock, he completed 9 of 15 passes for 107 yards. In the second half, he led two late scoring drives.
With 10:38 left, he threw a strike to senior Landon Nosa just over the fingers of a defender for the first Panthers’ score. And, with 2:40 left, the freshman scampered 5 yards for the final score.
Martin took over the job in the second half last week after an injury to Ben DeLong, who is now playing wide receiver.
“Ben is actually an awesome receiver,” Elwood coach Ron Brown said. “He’s actually helping Chance out on the field at receiver, making sure he is getting where he needs to get. ... (Chance) has a nice arm.”
Elwood will play at Alexandria (4-1) next week while Frankton will host defending Class 2A state runner-up Eastbrook (3-2).