GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As a senior, quarterback Feleipe Franks led his high school to only its second state title appearance since 1981.
And his team, Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla, was a defensive stop away from winning the Class 5A championship.
Franks took his offense on a six-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead touchdown with less than five minutes remaining. But Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore found the end zone on the ensuing series, leaving 70 seconds on the clock for Franks.
He drove Wakulla down the field once again and set up the game-tying field goal, but his 50-yard attempt sailed wide left on the final play. It was an admirable effort from Franks, who serves as his team’s quarterback, kicker and punter.
“He did it all for us,” said Franks’ coach, Barry Klees. “The kid is just a winner. He dominated in little league and won the ‘Super Bowl’ they have. In middle school, he won a championship. Now he took us to the state title as a senior. His leadership was key this season.”
Franks split time as Wakulla’s starting quarterback his freshman year and took over full-time as a sophomore. Since then, Klees said Franks has basically been an extra coach on the field.
“He’s just grown each and every season,” Franks said. “We were telling him what to do as a freshman, but now he calls all the protections and audibles at the line of scrimmage. He can read defenses really well. He’s a real field general out there.”
While Franks’ football IQ made life easier for Klees, that’s not what he’ll remember most about his star quarterback.
“His knowledge of the game obviously stands out, but his desire to win is unmatched,” Klees said. “By far, he’s our biggest competitor on the team and one of the biggest I’ve ever met.
“I’ve known Feleipe since fourth grade and he’s always been that way. Florida is going to get a talented, competitive kid.”