Friday Harbor’s Cole Franklin shines in Linfield debut

Pressed into duty, former Friday Harbor quarterback Cole Franklin engineered a 12-point comeback and nearly put his team over the top as Division III Linfield Wildcats fell 29-22 on the road in Texas in their season opener Sept. 13.

The Wildcats trailed 21-10 to Hardin-Simmons of Abilene when Franklin took over the controls after the team’s starting quarterback was sidelined by an injury. He gained 68 yards on seven carries to lead the team in rushing and tossed a 9-yard TD that put the Wildcats temporarily out in front 22-21.

Hardin-Simmons reclaimed the lead and the victory, 29-22, by scoring a touchdown with just over a minute remaining in the game.

The storied Linfield football program boasts the longest winning streak at all levels of the NCAA. As of 2007, the Wildcats had 52 consecutive winnings seasons and have won four national college football titles.

Franklin, a 2007 Friday Harbor High School graduate, guided the Wolverines football team to back-to-back appearances at the 1A state tournament in 2005 and in ‘06. He is expected to start at quarterback when Linfield, located in McMinnville, Ore., hosts Southern Oregon in its home opener Sept. 22.