High school football: State machine Joshua Franklin leads Crete-Monee into state playoffs

Joshua Franklin and his coach, John Konecki, were too caught up in the moment to realize what had happened when Crete-Monee played against Thornwood on 17 September.

“I did not know it at all,” said Franklin, the Warriors’ junior quarterback.

But his mother did.

“My mother had asked me to ask the governor [about his numbers]said Franklin. “He told me and I was surprised.”

Who would not be? Franklin set up video game numbers in Crete’s 78-18 victory: 469 total yards and eight touchdowns – 340 yards and six TDs passes, 129 yards and two urgent goals.

Konecki said he was just focused on the next game all night long.

“[The game] was back and forth and we just exploded, ”he said. “I got the statistics sheet and I thought, ‘Oh. OKAY.’ … It was one of those deals where someone was in that state of flow. “

Usually, Franklin flows from one sport to the next. When the 6 foot and 167 pound was younger, he practiced five of them: football, baseball, basketball, court and wrestling.

Even now in high school, he still makes four and divides his time in the winter between football and wrestling.

“I have to talk to both of my coaches to get around the schedule,” said Franklin, who did not want to give up either. “I’ve been playing both since I was little.”

Ditto for football, where he got his start with the University Park Lions.

“He came in as a beginner, played a little bit at college, we were able to see a little bit of that athletics,” Konecki said. “Then COVID hit.”

But even a pandemic did not slow down Franklin. He trained at home and made some seven-on-seven arrangements on a team that was thrown together for the purpose by some friends from his youth football days.

Konecki wonders about Franklin’s engine. “He’s go, go, go – he’s been like that forever,” the coach said. “I say to him, ‘It’s OK sometimes to stay on the couch.'”

Crete-Monee's Joshua Franklin (7) is getting ready for a kickoff after scoring his third touchdown against Kankakee last season.

Crete-Monee’s Joshua Franklin (7) is getting ready for a kickoff after scoring his third touchdown against Kankakee last season.
Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times

But sport is life for Franklin. He was the state medalist in triple jump during the spring track season and is starting to get Big Ten and the Mid-American Conference interested in football.

Konecki has trained some elite athletes in Crete. Two reached the NFL – Laquon Treadwell and Lance Lenoir – and two more – Trayvon Rudolph and Clint Ratkovich – currently play for Northern Illinois.

“He reminds me of those guys when they were younger,” Konecki said of Franklin.

Can Franklin reach similar heights? His coach does not bet against it.

“He’s a great leader, a great kid to be with,” Konecki said.

That scary for the opponents? Franklin is still getting used to playing quarterback after coming to high school as a wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner (he still makes the latter two).

“I had some fights where I had some mistakes,” he said. “I’m still learning the position, but I have a great quarterback coach [Quincy Woods]. “

And as the numbers showed that night in September, he’s getting a handle on it.

Give a Comment