New! Franklins Keep Tornados Storming
Author Lacy Camp
Since the 1920s, when the modern Haynesville was built, the “Gateway to North Louisiana” has always had a special mark in the Southern State.
In the economy, Haynesville is considered as one of the largest petroleum booms in Louisiana. In the sports world, Haynesville produced the “Franklin Dynasty.”
In high school, Alton “Red” Franklin was a letterman athlete each year in football, baseball and basketball. After receiving a scholarship from the University of Alabama to play football, he transferred to Louisiana College.
Franklin began his coaching career in 1961 in Marksville, LA and shortly took his coaching to Haynesville, where he served as an assistant coach until becoming head coach in 1967.
“People in Haynesville love football,” said David Franklin, Haynesville’s current head football coach. “There is so much support from the public. They will do anything to support their coaches and team.”
This support has been shown throughout “Red” Franklin’s 35 seasons head coaching career as he compiled a 366-76-8 record, which includes a 96-4 win-loss record from 1990-96, 11 state championships, 4 state runner-up finishes, 15 consecutive district titles (27 total district titles) and 33 straight winning seasons.
“He was pretty strict and firm,” David said. “He demanded respect from all his players, but respect was given in return.”
Through his success at Haynesville, Franklin was district coach of the year 23 times, state coach of the year six times, named the National High School Athletic Association’s Region 5 Coach of the Year twice and inducted into the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
“His love for the game and more importantly (his love) for the kids, that’s why he has done this for so long,” David said. “I guess that is why I am here too.”
When retiring in January 2002, Franklin’s son took the position as head coach with big shoes to fill.
“I was scared to death,” Coach David Franklin said. “But coaching is what I’ve always wanted to do. I believe it is God’s plan for my life.”
Before becoming head coach, David landed his first coaching job at Haynesville Junior High in 1993 and coached under his father for multiple years.
Although “Red” has stepped down as head coach, he is still a part of Haynesville football.
“He told me when he first started helping me, that he would continue to help as long as we still had good kids and his health would allow him,” David said. “God has blessed him and he is still coaching.”
David said he hopes to continue the system his father has established by being a good Christian influence and helping develop young men of character.
With the Franklin Dynasty still thriving, Haynesville fans have been able to travel to New Orleans multiple times to fill the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as their Golden Tornado has now engulfed 17 1-A state championship titles and a perfect season in 2013.
“It’s hard to explain the love and pride of Haynesville football,” David said. “The support that the community gives to this team is tremendous. There is just something about a Friday night in Haynesville.”
Writer Lacy Camp
Lacy is from Homer, LA and graduated from Homer High School. She currently attends Louisiana Tech for a journalism and sports marketing degree. She has served as a reporter for the Guardian Journal, Haynesville News, the Tech Talk, and Varsity Preps. She started working as an intern for LAFM in April 2015. You can follow her on twitter at @lacy_camp.