FRANKLIN, Wis. — Whether it was a last-second touchdown to beat Appleton North to start the year or a comeback victory against Appleton North to earn a trip to state, one thing is clear. The Franklin Sabers know how to close.
"It's crazy to see Tanner and me in 2nd grade, trying football for the first time and now we're walking into Camp Randall for a gold ball," quarterback Myles Burkett laughs. "It's the stuff you talk about since you're a little kid."
"I went in at halftime (in the opening game) and had to say one thing," recalls Sabers coach Louis Brown. "'I've never had a team quit on me in 11 years as a head coach, don't be the first.' After that, the proof was in the pudding."
"If there's time left on the clock, there's time to come back," says Burkett. "That's the message to our whole program. Keep fighting to the last second and you'll come out victorious."
A scene from after the last game may be even more impressive. While the victorious Sabers began celebrating, wide receiver Keaton Arendt leaned over to a dejected North player and offered words of encouragement.
"I know how he felt," Arendt says. "Because freshman, sophomore year we lost in the third round to Muskego and I felt the same way he did. I just thought he needed some words of encouragement and maybe a pat on the back."
"I was sitting down going through my phone and saw it and just started welling up with pride," said Brown. "That's all you can ask for."
The Sabers boast one division one recruit, Syracuse-bound Chad Schuster, and another in Burkett, a future Badger. The quarterback laughed when showed a childhood photo of him and running back Tanner Rivard from their youth football days.