Bears quarterback Mason Earls ran for a 7-yard go-ahead touchdown before the Mt. Juliet defense stopped Rebels quarterback Carter Hendry on fourth and goal to seal the win.
Earls came up with a 14-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds remaining in regulation and Aidan Raines ran in the 2-point conversion and the home crowd erupted.
"The last drive for our offense was critical," Bears coach Trey Perry said following the victory. "We didn't panic. And credit our defense in overtime. This is the second game that our defense has stopped our opponent in four downs [the first was against Wilson Central]."
The Bears held Franklin to a three-and-out on the opening possession before Jacob Bailey put the hosts ahead 3-0 with a field goal at 8:05. Franklin would take a 7-3 lead three minutes later as Hendry connected with receiver J.P. Batarseh for a 33-yard score.
Mt. Juliet regained the lead near the end of the first quarter as Earls scrambled in for an 11-yard score and a 10-7 Bears lead. The Rebels would fumble on their ensuing possession, giving Mt. Juliet a short field to start the second quarter. Tony Thompson recovered the ball at the 15-yard line and two plays later Raines would give the Bears a 17-7 lead with a 12-yard run.
The Rebels would come back to within a field goal with just over two and a half minutes to go in the first half when Hendry found Alex Gaca on a 31-yard score. Franklin entered the locker room down 17-14.
A little trickery gave the Bears a 24-14 advantage after a fake on a field goal attempt resulted in a 13-yard gain for Earls and an eventual 2-yard touchdown run for Raines. Franklin answered right back as Hendry found a hole in the Mt. Juliet defense and sprinted 80 yards to pull the Rebels in to a 24-21 count. Bailey split the uprights on a 49-yard field goal for a 27-21 Bears advantage with 1:22 remaining in the third.
Franklin took a one-point lead in the fourth quarter with 5:12 to go when Hendry punched in a 1-yard run. With 4:30 to go, the Rebels forced Raines to fumble and after gaining possession ran three plays, ending in a 20-yard reception by Batarseh to give the visitors a 35-27 lead.
"For the last three-plus years we had a senior class that bought in, and they get to experience the joy [of the win] on senior night," Perry said. "And against a great football team."
Next up, the Bears will face McGavock, which Perry referred to as "a tough football team. We've got to finish business."
A win at McGavock at 7 p.m. next Thursday would seal the Region 3-6A championship for the Golden Bears. Franklin will play host to Lebanon at 7 p.m. next Friday.
Mt. Juliet 42, Franklin 35
Franklin 7 7 7 14 0 - 35
Mt. Juliet 10 7 0 8 7 - 42
Mt. Juliet - Jacob Bailey 20 FG, 8:05
Franklin - J.P. Batarseh 33-yard reception from Carter Hendry (Christopher Miller-Hill kick), 5:00
Mt. Juliet - Mason Earls 11-yard run (Bailey kick), 0:45
Mt. Juliet - Aidan Raines 12-yard run (Bailey kick), 11:53
Franklin - Alex Gaca 31-yard reception from Hendry (Miller-Hill kick), 2:34
Mt. Juliet - Raines 2-yard run (Bailey kick), 5:09
Franklin - Hendry 80-yard run (Miller-Hill kick), 4:40
Mt. Juliet - Bailey 49-yard field goal, 1:22
Franklin - Hendry 1-yard run (Miller-Hill kick), 5:12
Franklin - Batarseh 20-yard reception from Wes Patterson (Miller-Hill kick), 2:47
Mt. Juliet - Earls 14-yard run (Raines run), 0:54
Mt. Juliet - Earls 7-yard run (Bailey kick)
PASSING—Franklin: Hendry 5-7—143, Patterson 3-9—51. Mt. Juliet: Earls 6-8—57
RUSHING—Franklin: Patterson 11-43, Hendry 11-132, Mitch Rossi 21-88. Mt. Juliet: Raines 29-125, Mason Earls 20-92 yards, Lawson Rich 1-21, Marcello Walton 6-21
RECEIVING—Franklin: Gentry Neese 1-19, Batarseh 2-61, Gaca 5-114. Mt. Juliet: Pruitt 1-18, Raines 1-6, Whitaker 1-15, Rich 3-27.