Diantre Gardner stunned the Hornets by returning the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers (1-1) never looked back as Gary Adkins notched his first victory as SMSH head coach.
The Hornets slipped to 0-2 for the year.
Neither team played close to perfect football, as the game saw eight turnovers and 14 penalties assessed.
But the Tigers added another quick touchdown after corner back Asa Marshall picked off a Franklin pass and returned it 35 yards to the Hornet 16. Four plays later Jude St. Julien plunged into the end zone from two yards out. Although both PAT attempts failed, the Tigers had opened a 12-0 lead less than six minutes into the opening period.
St. Martinville threatened again early in the second stanza, advancing to the Hornet 18 before fumbling the ball away.
The Tigers botched another opportunity shortly before intermission after Da’Quan Wiltz forced a Hornet fumble at the Franklin 31. Three plays lost 11 yards and SM had to punt, leaving the score at 12-0 after two quarters.
Lorenzo Chaisson helped put the Tigers into a commanding lead midway through the third period when he gathered in a pass from Clifton Chaisson and raced 45 yards for a score. Jamiah Nelson added the PAT to make it 20-0.
The Hornets finally got on the board after recovering a SM fumble near midfield. QB Michael Poledore found a wide open Rakeem Robertson for the 52-yard TD bomb. The PAT kick closed the gap to 20-7.
But the Tigers struck back late in the stanza after Dequincy Narcisse recovered a Franklin fumble at the Hornet 42. Clifton Chaisson found a hole in the Franklin defense and sprinted 46 yards to the end zone. Chaisson added the two-point conversion with a pass to Kendall Wiltz.
Narcisse turned back another Franklin threat early in the final stanza when he intercepted a Poledore pass near midfield. But the Tigers couldn’t cash in on the turnover, failing to convert a 4th-and-1 at the FHS 38.
The Hornets then got their second and final touchdown when Poledore snuck in from the one to cap a 62-yard drive with 3:56 on the clock. The two-point conversion was stopped and Franklin trailed 28-13.
The Hornets pulled off a successful onside kick, and a major penalty against St. Martinville put Franklin in business at the Tiger 32. But The ’Ville’s defense rose to the challenge and the Hornets went four-and-out on their final possession.
Jude St. Julien led the Tiger ground attack with 43 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Clifton Chaisson was under a lot of pressure in passing situations and finished 3-for-10 for 60 yards, including the 45-yard strike to Lorenzo Chaisson.
The Tigers return home Friday to host the 1-1 Kaplan Pirates.