Battle of Franklin

Franklin Rebels @ Centennial Cougars

Friday, September 29, 2017 7:00 PM

Knowing all eyes would be on him as he guided Centennial into battle against Franklin in the biggest, baddest football brawl on the Cougar schedule, Matt Kriesky had little time to ease into his new coaching position.

Adding to the pressure he would have to endure in his Centennial debut a year ago, Kriesky had to match football wits with his former high school coach Donnie Webb just months after Brian Rector guided 12-2 Centennial into the Tennessee AAAAA state football semifinals in 2015.

Kriesky’s Cougars ended up coming through for their new coach, upending Webb’s Rebels 28-24 in last season’s 21st playing of the Battle of Franklin, carrying the rivalry to a whole new level.

The Rebels won the first 15 contests in the brutal rivalry before Centennial broke through for its first win in 2012. Although Franklin owns a 17-4 record against the Cougars since Game 1 in 1997, Centennial has claimed four of the last six contests, including the last three.

Franklin won 37-34 in 2014, but the Cougars bounced back to take a 28-23 win over their rivals in the playoffs a week later.

Centennial and Franklin, who play for the right to take home a coveted half red, half blue football helmet, have combined for 35 postseason berths and are responsible for a 41-31 playoff record collectively. Since 2001 at least one of the two rivals played their way into the postseason.

Having taken the last three rumbles, Centennial believes its time to even the score a bit with a long winning streak of its own. Franklin, meanwhile, has been without that old football helmet for far too long and the Rebels aim to take it back for the first time since 2014.

Some 7,000 football fans are expected to show up at Centennial High School on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. So come early as fans will undoubtedly be pouring in to get an up close view of one of Tennessee’s premier football rivalries over the past two decades.

Riverly Series Hashtags

  • #BeatCentennial
  • #BeatFranklin

Who will win?

Learn More About the Teams

@ Centennial
Franklin Rebels Franklin, TN
Loveland Tigers
Centennial Cougars Franklin, TN


Franklin Rebels

Franklin, TN

Per its own website Franklin High School, home of the Rebels, opened its doors in 1910 and employed just two teachers for 20 students during the first school year. Now, more than a century later, the Williamson County high school enrolls 1,745 students and competes in Class 6A football, Tennessee’s largest classification.

With Alvin Palmer at the helm, the Rebels won five straight Battles of Franklin to begin this fierce rivalry. Ten years later Franklin still hadn’t lost to Centennial and had outscored its crosstown foe 380-154 through 15 battles. The Rebels also took home the red and blue helmet in 2013 and 2014 and now owns a 17-4 advantage over their rival Cougars.

As Franklin continued to bump Centennial during its annual run-ins, the Rebels also made a name for themselves in the playoffs. Over the years, Franklin found itself playing long after most football teams had turned in their uniforms. Since the Battle of Franklin’s inception, in 1997, the Rebels have played in the postseason 17 times and posted a 24-17 playoff record according to the TSSAA’s website.

Although Franklin has not won a state football championship over the past 20 years, the Rebels did play for 5A titles in 2004 and 2008, losing to Riverdale (35-7) and Oakland (20-13) respectively. In 2003, the Rebels bowed out of the playoffs in the 5A semifinals after dropping a 17-10 decision to eventual state champion Germantown.

Located about 20 miles south of Nashville on I-65, Franklin is preparing for a fifth straight appearance in the Tennessee state football playoffs this fall. But long before the Rebels square off against other 6A schools from around the Volunteer State, Franklin has another score to settle during Week 7 action.

Donnie Webb and his gang of Rebels are planning an ambush of Centennial in hopes of starting another long string of wins against their rival Cougars.

For more information on the Franklin football team, click here.


Centennial Cougars

Franklin, TN

Centennial High School, home of the Cougars, opened its doors in 1996 to help calm an overgrowing population in the Franklin School District. Located almost five miles east of rival Franklin just off of I-65, Centennial is host to 1,654 football crazy students.

Brian Rector left Ravenwood to take over at Centennial in 2011 and had instant success, especially where it counted most. With the Cougars riding a 15-game losing streak to Franklin, Rector’s Cougars knocked out the Rebels 42-10 in 2012 for Centennial’s first triumph over its adversary.

Rector also guided the Cougars to back-to-back wins over Franklin in 2014 and 2015 before stepping down after compiling a 41-20 record. The 2014 win, a 28-23 decision in the playoffs, came a week after Franklin took the 2014 Battle of Franklin 37-34. Matt Kriesky took the Cougar reins in 2016 and guided Centennial to a 28-24 decision over its rivalry counterpart.

Along with conquering their despised foe, Rector and Kriesky formulated a pattern of postseason success. Since 2011 the Cougars have competed beyond the regular season in five of six campaigns and posted a 9-5 playoff mark collectively.

Rector and Kriesky led the Cougars to the school’s best finishes the past two seasons, combining for a 23-4 mark. Centennial fell to eventual state champion Independence 56-15 in the Class 5A Division 1 semifinals under Rector in 2015. Kriesky’s Cougars bowed out of the playoffs a round earlier, falling to Brentwood 24-21 in the 2016 quarterfinals.

This fall’s Battle of Franklin will mark the first time these two football powers clash since the passing of former Cougar wide receiver Jim Cheek in an auto accident last November. Cheek would have graduated in May.

With the 2017 Battle of Franklin quickly approaching, Centennial is locked in on roughing up the Rebels for a fourth straight year and making another run at the school’s first state football championship.

For more information on the Centennial football team, click here.