Livonia Franklin senior quarterback Jake Kelbert talks about what he was seeing in his team's 42-20 win over Dearborn in Week 2 Eric Coughlin, The Detroit News
Dearborn — Livonia Franklin showed it still has one of the elite football teams in the KLAA East on Friday night, downing Dearborn, 42-20.
Dearborn (1-1, 0-1 KLAA East) had trouble handling senior quarterback Jake Kelbert, who smoothly controlled Franklin’s offense to the tune of 11-of-18 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Kelbert, a three-year starter, even showed impressive scrambling ability with 12 carries for 34 yards and one score.
“From watching film, I knew we had height leverage on the outside. I knew that if I used my IQ. I could mess with the corner(back) and get the ball over,” Jake Kelbert said.
“The experience helps us as coaches because he’s (Kelbert) seeing things that we sometimes don’t see,” Franklin coach Chris Kelbert said. “When we call a play he knows exactly where we want the ball to go, so he’s pretty special.”
Senior Franklin running back James Carpenter frequently gashed the Dearborn defense, racking up 113 yards on 11 carries., a 10.3-yard average.
“Our offensive scheme is based on letting the linemen do the work, and I’ve got great offensive linemen,” Carpenter said. “They open up big holes for me. I’m patient and hit them at full speed. That’s what I like to do.”
Livonia Franklin coach Chris Kelbert talks about his team's 42-20 win over Dearborn and his son, quarterback Jake Kelbert Eric Coughlin, The Detroit News
The loss is a disappointment for Dearborn. After going 5-5 in 2018 and beating Canton by 15 points in Week 1, Dearborn was expected to put up a better fight against coach Christopher Kelbert’s Franklin squad. Franklin (2-0, 1-0 KLAA East) even racked up 13 penalties. Dearborn didn't help its cause, giving up touchdowns on an interception and a blocked punt.
Dearborn wide receiver Tommy Guajardo will be playing football at Michigan State next season, but Franklin bottled him up, only allowing Guajardo four catches for 34 yards.
Franklin struck first with an opening-drive touchdown. Kelbert had 49 yards throwing on the drive, including a 19-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Brandon Reinten to make it 7-0.
The fast start was something the Franklin coaching staff had been emphasizing this week in practice.
“We wanted to start fast and put a little doubt in their minds,” Chris Kelbert said.
Dearborn answered with a lengthy drive, but Franklin linebacker Evan Pittenger intercepted a pass over the middle and took it back 92 yards, putting Franklin ahead 14-0.
On the next drive, Pittenger outjumped his defender to reel in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Kelbert and Franklin had a 21-0 lead.
Dearborn started passing in an attempt to catch up quickly but it had little effect, and when Franklin senior Erik Reaves blocked a Dearborn punt, scooped it up and ran into the end zone, it put Franklin’s lead out of reach just before halftime, 28-0.
A bright moment for Dearborn occurred near the end of the third quarter when Dearborn senior Ryan Timani broke a couple tackles en route to a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown to cut Franklin’s lead to 28.
Backup Dearborn quarterback Ali Albdair hooked up with junior wide receiver Conor Whittaker for a 50-yard score in the fourth quarter to make it 35-20, but only four minutes remained and senior Franklin running back Grant Gibson punched in a four-yard touchdown run to definitively put it out of reach with 2:14 left.
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Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer; Detroit News staff contributed.