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Franklin, IL - - Gone in a flash.

A hundred years after they laced up their basketball sneakers and went head-to-head with Waverly, Franklin had ended their program and joined forces with them.

Franklin Flashes Basketball was history. And what a rich, small town history it had.

The idea of a co-op basketball program with fellow Morgan County neighbor Waverly, seven miles down Route 104, had been toyed with for years by the two communities. A number of Franklin residents resisted. Losing your sports team is like losing your identity in a small town. For Franklin, the team and nickname had been the source of community pride.

When the town's only gas station was built in 1995, it was called the Flashes Junction. The community has a very strong pride in their Flashes. Much like that pride former Franklin janitor RED CALHOON had for the Flashes. He made sure the gymnasium floor was in perfect condition for each game. The gymnasium was later named after him. They were proud of their Flashes like TOMMY LUTTRELL was. A special needs man, Luttrell stood on the court during starting lineups to shake the starters' hands for about 25 years.

In 2015-16, after both school boards voted in favor of, the Franklin-Waverly South County Vipers began their co-op program. The Franklin Flashes and Waverly Scotties were no more. Since they already shared the Orange and Black colors, that did not change. Basketball was the last sport to holdout as all other Franklin sports were a co-op.

Franklin and Waverly first met on the basketball court for a game in 1915. From then they consistently played every season from 1924-2014. After 176 times playing each other, they played for the last time in December, 2014. Waverly got a 68-56 win. South County plays in the same MSM Conference, a conference Franklin has won 12 times.

With the co-op Franklin would get some of the South County home games during the season. Waverly would still hold the annual holiday tourney.

Games at the Waverly Holiday Tournament for Franklin players are now considered home gym games under the co-op with Waverly with South County serving as hosts.

Franklin began playing in the Waverly Holiday Tournament in 1952 and have since had the number one seed three times, winning it in 1979 (#1 seed), 1981 (#1 seed) and 2011 (#2 seed). In that first year in 1952, DICK HEMBROUGH had 32 points in a game and was picked for All Tourney by the Jacksonville newspaper.

Franklin set a tourney record in 1980 in a loss to Virden for the highest point total in a game, 192 in the 103-89 loss. The 89 points was a big scoring affair for Franklin, yet not the highest they've scored. In the 1975 regular season, they put up 114 points in a win over Palmyra Northwestern.

The Waverly tourney is one of the best small town tourneys in the country. If you're attending the title game, get there at least an hour or more early. Otherwise, you may be watching four deep from the hallway. The stands and stage are always jam packed and fans even surround the court in the standing room only game.

When Franklin was in the title game, the energy and noise level seemed even higher. "We walked all the way through the gym and our fans were going crazy," says former Franklin player and current South County assistant WILLIE SMITH recalling playing in a title game. "Pretty sure the team didn't hear one word of Coach KRUMWEIDEs pre-game because it sounded like the fans were going to come through the ceiling of the locker room it was so loud."

Teammate and fellow Franklin standout CHARLIE WHITE agreed the noise was at fever pitch. "The noise in the gym was completely deafening," explained White. "It felt like the dressing room was shaking before the game with everyone stomping."

Franklin residents are crazy about their Flashes.

Basketball has always been their main sport. They don't have football. They've been a part of a football co-op for several years with New Berlin. Without football, Homecoming has held during the basketball season. In the 1990s there were over 100 students enrolled. Last season, Franklin had just 77 students.

Within the Franklin school district is Alexander, a community of about 150 located about seven miles down the road along the Franklin-Alexander blacktop. Heading into Alexander from the capital city of Springfield on I-72W, you will see signage that you're 90 degrees West Longitude 1/4 Around the World.

Not much to Alexander. A post office that's been there since 1857, seven years after the community was founded. A bar called the Wildside. A park that includes a full basketball court. And a grade school.

Grades 3-5 from Franklin and Alexander attend school at the Alexander School. Kindergarten through second attend East Grade School in Franklin. The 2017-18 school year will be the final year for Alexander School. A new school for 3-5 Graders will be built next to the high school in Franklin just outside the cafeteria windows. The school will include another gymnasium, which will serve as a practice court for the junior high. For years while high school basketball was practicing, the junior high had to practice in the cafeteria which has only two baskets.

The outer windows of the high school front which read for years "Home of the Flashes" were taken down this summer. However, it didn't signal the final end to the Flashes, but a move into the future.

RICK SMITH. He's been a favorite athletic director of many area officials due to the way he treats them which had often included a meal from the local Hamilton's Catering.

Smith formerly coached the junior high and those that played for him credit him for correcting their shooting form and instilling fundamentals. He won multiple regional and sectional titles at the junior high level.

He's been the driving force behind the continued success of the Franklin Burgoo 3 on 3 Tourney, held each July 4. You can catch him each year working hard on the setup and emceeing the event, held at the community park. If you've put a team in the tourney, you've gotten a phone call from him telling you what time you play on the fourth. And, you'll get a call the following year asking if your team is coming back. Most teams do.

He's been the cross country coach since 1981 and has had several successful finishes in addition to running an Invitational on the Franklin course that's considered one of the toughest in the state.

Outside of athletics, Smith has also organized a biennial March that he started in 1999. The march teaches the predominantly white student body about black history and civil rights. Junior high students march about seven miles from Alexander to Franklin. It's a fundraiser for a trip to Memphis, Tennessee where students get another opportunity to learn, visiting the Civil Rights Museum.

The Flashes first recorded season in 1924, they were 12-6. Their first winning season didn't come until 1957-58 when they went 16-7. They had that same record in 1963-64 under Head Coach ROGER EZARD. Roger's son, ANDY, is the current Mayor of Jacksonville.

Their first 20 win season came in 1966-67 when Coach GARY CALHOUN led the Flashes to a 20-6 finish. They were conference champions and placed third in the prestigious Waverly Holiday Tournament. Under the one class system, they lost to the larger Jacksonville in the regional title game.

In 1968, NED SEYMOUR began a coaching career that spanned 23 years; the longest in program history. He only had six losing seasons, the worst being 1985-86s 0-23 campaign; the only zero win season in program history.

He had five 20 win seasons, the most being the school record 26 in the 1979-80 season when they won a regional title and only lost three games in the program's best ever season. That 26 win season was also memorable since the program won a school record 21 games in a row. They had also won the Ashland and Waverly Tournaments.

He won five regionals and also a sectional in 1973-74, a season that ended at 25-4. That season they collected Conference and Ashland Invitational titles. Seymour brought home Franklin's only titles at the Ashland Invitational (1974, 1977, 1978-1980).

He ended his career at 335-257 in 1990-91. He had two sons that played for the program, BRET and LUKE; both All Conference selections. BRET played for him. You can still catch Ned at games, now watching the South County team.

"I can't think about Franklin basketball without thinking of Coach Ned Seymour," says PAT BONJEAN, Franklin resident and current Head Coach at Franklin Junior High. "To me, he is the person most responsible for the success and continuation of the Flashes basketball tradition."

Ned's face lights up when you talk about area basketball; past and present. He has so many stories and memories but points out most memorable moments such as beating Chatham Glenwood in the 1974 regional championship and playing a couple times in the Petersburg Sectional. He enjoyed facing other great coaches such as neighbor Waverly head coach SCOTT LEWIS in the 1980s and Pleasant Plains head coach RAY TOLAND in the 1970s.

The 1991-92 season saw a promising new coach enter in JEFF KRUMWEIDE. The newcomer was liked right away after leading the Flashes to a winning 14-11 season. In his second season, he was settled in and led the boys to a regional title and a 21-7 season. It looked to be start of another long successful run. However, Coach "Krum" had departed. He would then move on to become Head Coach at Carrollton.

He resigned at Carrollton in June after 23 seasons. He finished his career with over 500 wins and is an Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Famer.
His son, JOSH, whom he coached, is head coach at Dieterich.

In 1993-94, it was SHANE GRAYs turn to lead the program. A grad of Waverly, he headed over to coach the rival Franklin. Although he was from the rival town, he says some of his most memorable sports moments come from Franklin.

His first season was a winner as the Flashes went 16-12 and won their second consecutive Regional crown. He was known for his creative ways of motivating his team. His first three seasons were all winning seasons. He would coach seven total before resigning and returning to Waverly to coach the junior high, serve as athletic director and later serve as director of the Waverly Holiday Tournament.

"Coaching at Franklin was small town basketball at its best," says Gray. "The players, the assistants and the community pour their sweat and tears into Flashes Basketball and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it."

CHAD LANGHEIM of Pawnee took the reigns in 2000, coaching three seasons with the middle one being a winning 14-13 finish. He would resign and become principal at Raymond Lincolnwood, a position he held until he was tragically killed in a car accident. He was just 38 years old. The MSM Conference now has a Chad Langheim Memorial Athlete of the Year Award.

After Langheim came former player and JV coach BILL LONG, folllowed by JOE KUHLMAN, who would have the best three year run (68-19) in school history. That run included three 20 win seasons and two regional titles as well as the first Waverly Holiday Tournament title in 30 years. His 9-0 conference sweep was a school record. They had lost in the Sectional semifinal to Krumweide's Carrollton in 2011-12. Carrollton went on the finish in second place in the state. It was a complete turnaround from the program he inherited. A season before he took over, the Flashes went 5-20 and his first season in 2008-09, he went 1-22. Kuhlman resigned in 2012 to take a principal position at Bluffs High.

In between Long and the latter Kuhlman success, former player WILLIE SMITH coached for one season. It was a 6-20 season but the start of something big as underclassmen that would become some of the best in program history were earning valuable experience. Smith bleeds orange and black and is the current assistant for the South County program.

DAVE SUITS of Carlinville was the last head coach at Franklin before the program ended and started the coop with Waverly. He coached the Franklin program from 2012-15 with two winning seasons; the best being in 2014-15 (15-13). He was chosen to lead the South County program and is still the head coach entering the third season of the co-op.

Even as a co-op, the love affair continues as the communities have been brought together as the Vipers. It's still small town basketball.

"It's not the prettiest game, nor attended by the largest crowds, or in some cases the most skilled game, however, it is the most pure form of basketball that there is," says Coach Gray, referring to small town basketball like that of Franklin and Waverly.


Seventh in all time program scoring (1,241). Most Improved Player as a soph. Team MVP as a senior. Hit 78 career threes. Scored 35 points against Greenfield December 17, 1996. Participated in the state slam dunk contest. Was All Area, All Conference and Chicago Sun Times and Associated Press Honorable Mention All State. He put up 14.9 ppg in his career. Went on to Springfield JC along with teammate CLARK BOWMAN. Did not play after a knee injury.

Scored 716 career points. Hit 160 threes, which is fourth all time. Two time All Conference selection. Current assistant for the junior high program.

Scored 862 career points. Second Team All Waverly Tournament in 2007. Career high was 34 points.

Scored 688 points. Named Team MVP. Two times he was named All Conference. He and his father, RON, scored 1,550 points for the program.

Scored 1,033 career points and hit 101 threes. All Waverly Holiday Tournament selection. Career high was 34 points. Two times named All Conference. Averaged 16.6 ppg in four seasons.

Scored 674 career points. Grabbed 353 rebounds. Career high was 30 points. All Conference. Honorable Mention All State.

Scored 1,028 career points. Contributor since his freshman season. Selected to All Conference team twice. Team MVP. He and his father, BOBBY, scored 1,702 points total for the program.

Scored 808 career points. Career high was 38 points. Team MVP.

Fourth in all time scoring (1,268). Also fourth in all time rebounds with 632. Had 175 steals. Averaged 15.7 ppg in his career. All Conference selection. Honorable Mention All State. Team MVP. Coach NED SEYMOUR says he's one of the best he's coached. Went on to play at Eastern Wyoming JC and MacMurray.

Third all time leading scorer (1,387). Career high was 30. Team MVP. Was the school All Time Leading Scorer for 24 years.

School All Time Assists Leader (544 Assists). Scored 895 career points. Handed out 208 assists as a junior, the most a junior has completed there. His 236 assists as a senior is a single season record. He averaged 6.8 apg in his career. Team MVP. Brother of ALAN.

Scored 843 career points.

Team MVP. Brother DENNY (1959) had a 26 point outing.

Big, physically strong forward who also was a standout football player. Starter on 1993 Regional Championship team. Passed away after sustaining injuries in a vehicle accident in college. Brothers CHARLIE, MICHAEL and JACOB each played for the program. Charlie was voted Team MVP by his teammates and his son, MATTHEW, is a standout 2022 at Franklin.

Eighth in all time scoring (1,223). Career high was 36 points. Had 35 points in a 2001 game at the Waverly Holiday Tournament. He was All Tourney there. Hit 73 threes as a senior which is a class high. His 201 threes is second all time at Franklin. Averaged a career 15.9 ppg. Was All Conference twice and Team MVP. His brother ERIC, also was a shooter and graduated in 1995.

Scored 634 points. Team MVP. Went on to play at Illinois College.

BEN FORD, 2001.
Scored 611 points. Team Most Improved Player and Team MVP. Younger brother of Franklin standout JASON.

JASON FORD, 6'5", 1993.
The second all time leading scorer (1,597 points). His 627 rebounds is fifth all time. Blocked 82 shots as a senior; second best all time at Franklin. In his junior season, he averaged 23.4 ppg. Led the Waverly Holiday Tourney in scoring with 92 points in 1992. Was All Tourney there in 1991 and 1992. Was known for his high flying dunks. Career high was 36 points. Had eight games of 30 or more points. Averaged 18.7 ppg over four years. Honorable Mention All State. Three time All Conference. Team MVP as a junior and senior. Went on to play at Springfield JC and Illinois College.

Scored 657 career points. He and his son MARK contributed 1,902 points to the program.

Sixth in program scoring (1,245). Also sixth in all time rebounds with 548. Had 188 steals. His 33 points in a Jan 18, 1983 game was a program record for sophomores playing varsity along with his 513 points and 192 boards that year. Career high was 36 points. Averaged 16.4 ppg in his career.

Scored 713 career points.

Scored 658 points. Team MVP. His sons CHRIS and ERIC also played for the program. CHRIS (1990) handed out 159 assists for the program and later coached the junior high program. Bill passed away in July, 2017.

DAKOTA GRIDER, 6'5", 2011.
School All Time Leading Rebounder (787 rebounds) and Blocks leader (156 blocks). Scored 931 points and had 124 steals. Career high was 32 points.

In a December 27, 2010 game against Pawnee, he blocked a program record eight shots. His 85 blocks as a senior was a school single season record. As a senior, averaged 12.7 ppg and 10.6 rpg and blocked 85 shots for the 22-7 Flashes. All Conference. Team MVP. Honorable and Special Mention All State and Second Team All Waverly Tournament in 2010. A Speaks High School All Star. Moved on to play at Carl Sandburg JC where he averaged 6.9 ppg and 3.9 rpg.

Scored 608 points. Played in 99 varsity games, third most in school history. Team MVP. Brother, JASON, also played for the program.

Scored 32 points in a game at the Waverly Holiday Tournament. There was no All Tourney team officially that year but the Jacksonville newspaper chose him as one of the best performers in the eight team event. Went on to play at Illinois College.

MATT HEYEN, 6', 1996.
He's 11th on the all time scoring list (1,135). All Conference. Team Most Improved Player as a soph. Team MVP as a junior and senior. Hit 86 threes in his career. In a tourney game at Indiana University Team Camp, he hit 11 threes. Career high was 32 points. Went on to play at MacMurray before transferring to Illinois as a student.

Fifth in program scoring (1,253). Had 539 career rebounds. Set a single season steals record as a senior with 114. His 260 steals is second in school records. He handed out 222 assists as a senior and 396 for his career. Tallied a career high 31 points in a game in 1978. He's one of only two in program records to have over 500 points and 200 steals. All Stater. Three Time All Conference. Team MVP. Former Franklin Head Coach NED SEYMOUR says he's one of the best he's coached. Went on to play at Eastern Wyoming JC.

Scored 868 career points. Team MVP. Was the school All time leading scorer for five years. Received the Bronze and Silver Star and Purple Heart while serving in the U.S. Military. Went on to become a local U.S. Postmaster and was Franklin School Board President for six of his 17 years on the Board. Was once the announcer at Franklin games. In 2011, he suited back up in a Flashes jersey for Franklin's first alumni game. He would hit a three at the buzzer to win the game. Passed away in 2014.

Scored 670 points. Hit 80 threes.

Ninth in career points (1,139). Third in All Time assists with 439. Averaged 4.5 apg in four seasons. Had 316 rebounds, 164 steals and 197 threes.

As a freshman, was Speaks Small School Newcomer of the Year after he scored 273 points, grabbed 58 boards, hit 53 threes and handed out 96 assists which was the best a freshman has done in the program. Had 165 assists as a soph; a soph record and made 76 threes. All Tourney at Waverly in 2009. He was a Team MVP award recipient. All Conference all four years of school. Honorable Mention All State.

Had 10 points to help his 7th grade team to a state title in 2007. The team was coached by former Franklin guard and current principal JASON COURIER. The title team record was 13-13.

He was a Speaks High School All Star. Went on to play at MacMurray where he was Team Captain and an All Academic Conference and All Sportsmanship Team Player. Had a 25 point performance at the college level. He's a current assistant at MacMurray.

Scored 629 points and collected 338 boards. All Conference pick. Went on to the U.S. military.

Scored 753 points. Had over 325 rebounds. Team MVP.

He's #13 on the school All time scoring list (1,064). Grabbed 413 rebounds and had 196 steals. Played with a fever of 103 in the 1985 Petersburg Sectional. "He became my favorite Franklin Flash that night," says South County assistant WILLIE SMITH, who was nine years old when watching the game. Team MVP as a junior and senior. Went on to the U.S. military.

ALAN LONG, 1977.
His 1,037 career points ranks 14th in school history. Had over 450 rebounds. Team MVP. Brother of Franklin standout BILL.

BILL LONG, 1975.
The 12th man on the all time scorers list (1,117). Career high of 30 points. Team MVP. Served as JV coach, then later Head Coach. Three of his sons (BRIAN, BRAD, BILLY) played for Franklin. His fourth, 6'7" BRENT played at Jacksonville Routt and is the top returnee next season for MacMurray. Brent was a starter on the 2007 Franklin Junior High state title team. He's got over 1,000 points and 500 rebounds at MacMurray.

BILLY LONG, 6'5", 2004.
Scored 898 points. Hit 143 threes, which is fifth in school leaders. Career high was 32 points. Participated in the State Three Point Contest making 10 to advance to the Final Four. He finished second after hitting eight in final round. Two time All Conference. Team MVP. Went on to play at MacMurray.

BRAD LONG, 1999.
Scored 802 career points. All Waverly Tournament in 1998. Had 37 points against Palmyra Northwestern February 9, 1999 Scored 40 points in a freshman game. All Conference and a Two time Team MVP.

Scored 596 career points. His 533 assists is second all time in program history. Set a single game record when he dished out 19 assists in a game (Jan. 29, 1985) vs. New Berlin. That senior season, he dished out 223 assists. Averaged a program best 7.1 apg in his career.

Scored 630 points. All Conference. Team MVP.

Scored 731 points and handed out 179 assists. All Conference and Team MVP. Committed to play at Illinois College.

Scored 772 points. He made a school record 20 free throws vs. Ashland on January 22, 1988. Career high was 36 points. His career average was 18.8 ppg, which is the top overall average in school history. Two time Team MVP.

Handed out 181 assists. Stater on 1993 Regional Championship team. Passed away after being in an automobile accident. The Franklin Most Improved Player Award was named after him. A tree was planted in the schoolyard in memory of him.

DAN RAWLINGS, 6'9", 1977.
Tallest player in Franklin history. In just two seasons, he scored 984 points. His career high was 35 and he had three 30 point games. His father was in the military and when Dan arrived coaches were thrilled to see him walk into the gym having to duck in the doorway.

In 1976-77, he shot a program record 61.9% from the field. He also set a program single game rebounds record collecting 26 on January 18, 1977. His 372 rebounds that season is also a record and his 373 that season is tops for seniors. His junior season he grabbed 322 boards; the best rebounding season for a junior in program history. Totaled 695 career boards. Averaged 18.6 ppg for his career. His 13.1 rpg over his career leads program records. Coach NED SEYMOUR says he's one of the best he's coached. Went on to play at Oakland University

Scored 774 career points. Was the school All Time Leading Scorer for five years. After serving in the U.S. military came back to Morgan County and was a community leader. As Morgan County Road Commissioner he led the charge to expanding U.S. 67. Passed away in 2014. In 2016, U.S. 67 was named Dick Rawlings Memorial Highway.

The 10th all time leading scorer (1,135). Had over 525 rebounds. Career high was 32 points. Averaged nearly 20 ppg as a senior. All Conference. Went on to play at Illinois College. Served as a track coach, teacher and junior high athletic director in the White Hall North Greene School District. The George Ridder Memorial Basketball Court and 3 on 3 Tournament can be found in Roodhouse. It's a tribute to Ridder and fellow Roodhouse community leader DAVE BELL. Ridder passed away in 2013 after injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

Scored 690 points and hit 119 threes. Fifth in all time assists at 389. Stole the ball 120 times. Handed out 4.5 apg in his career. All Conference. Son of former head coach NED SEYMOUR.

Flashes' first ever 1,000 point scorer. Had 1,032 points and held the all time scoring mark for a season. Finished with 1,032 career points. Career high was 32 points. Played in each of the Franklin Alumni games.

Scored 821 career points. As a senior, he made 170-228 free throws (74.6%), a season school record. He's automatic from mid range. Average a career 17.5 ppg. Went on to play at Illinois State. Team MVP as a junior and as a senior. His sons, WILLIE and WYATT each played for Franklin. Later became Mayor of Franklin. Played in each of the Franklin Alumni games.

Scored 743 career points. State Three Point Contest participant. All Conference. Had one of the most thrilling moments in Flashes history when he hoisted up a shot from 25 feet and drilled it at the buzzer to defeat Virden in the regional semifinal. The senior then went on to help Franklin defeat Auburn for the regional title. The 65-63 title game score was the exact same as a year earlier when they'd beaten Virden for the regional championship.

He and his father scored 1,564 of the program's points. Willie went on to play at Illinois College before transferring to his father's alma mater Illinois State as a student.

He coached at the Junior High in Franklin and was the High School Head Coach for Franklin in 2008-09. The last three seasons of Franklin basketball, he coordinated an alumni game, the first of which included players from several years ago. He's also compiled the compete statistical and recognition history of Franklin basketball and has copies at the Franklin bank for the community to enjoy.

While serving on the Franklin School Board, he was a yes vote for a coop with Waverly. Was Head Coach of Illinois Bucks 14U in 2016. Assistant Coach for South County currently. His mother, DENISE, wrote for the Franklin Times newspaper.

JASON SPEAKS, 6'3", 1996.
Was Summer and regular season Most Improved Player Award recipient. Learned the game starting as a junior. Went on to play at Springfield JC and MacMurray. Rated the fifth best Juco player at the Converse Midwest Showcase at Missouri Southern State.

Scored 578 points and was the program's first all time leading scorer.

SCOTTIE THOELE, 6'4", 2012.
The Franklin All Time Leading Scorer (1,875 points), Career (216) and Single Season (79) Three Point Shooter, Steals leader (279) and Games Played (107). He also set then tied his own single game threes record when he hit seven against Calvary on January 30, 2010 and seven again January 7, 2011 vs. Morrisonville.

As a senior, the All Stater averaged 21.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.4 apg and 2.6 spg. He made 48 threes. He led Franklin to a conference title at 9-0 and an overall record of 24-4. He was Conference Player of the Year. Was All Conference for three seasons.

As a junior, led team to 22-7 record and averaged 24.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.4 apg and 3.6 spg and hit 79 threes. That season he led his team to a conference title and set single season scoring records with 714 for the season and had 43 in a game (Jan. 7, 2011). His 16 field goals that game tied the program single game record. The 79 threes he hit was a school record and the area best that season. And to go along with the record setting season, his points per game also was a record. He had 509 rebounds and 325 career assists. He scored over 30 on 12 occasions. Made his presence known after coming off the bench as a freshman and putting up 28 points.

Scored 35 points to lead Franklin to the Waverly Holiday Tournament title in 2011. He led the tourney in scoring that year with 95 points. He also led the tourney in scoring the previous year with 108. His 18.5 ppg in the tourney is the third best in event history. As a junior, he netted 27 ppg at Waverly. His 28 points as a freshman was a program record for freshman playing varsity. He's one of only two in program records to have over 500 points and 200 steals. Averaged 17.2 ppg for his career.

Signed with John Wood CC but decided not to play before the season started and returned to Franklin. He was a Speaks High School All Star, Speaks Small School All State, All State and Second Team All State. He scored 15 points in the Speaks All Star Game.

Led Franklin to the state title in 7th grade with 20 points.

Had 777 career points. Dished out 173 assists, had 102 steals and hit 74 threes. Scored 28 points in a game. Second Team All Waverly Tournament in 2013. Team Most Improved Player as a junior. Team MVP as a senior. First and Second Team All Conference.

Had 285 career rebounds. Second Team All Waverly Tournament in 2014. Was a Speaks All Star.

Scored 673 points and grabbed 636 rebounds. Collected 25 rebounds in a game December 6, 2013. Second Team All Conference. Team MVP.

CHARLIE WHITE, 5'10", 1994.
Scored 904 career points. His 609 points in a season is second best in school history for single season points and the best for seniors. Led the 1993 Waverly Holiday Tournament in scoring with 97. He was All Tourney as a result. All Conference pick. Career high was 32 points. Went on to play at Illinois College.

Franklin's population is at 600; 50 down from the population in the 1990s.

Spend some time in Franklin and you're sure to see REGGIE TOLER flying high above in his ultralight aircraft, or SCOTTIE BARTZ coasting through town playing Johnny Cash at a high decibel. Everybody knows everybody. It's true small town America. It's surrounded by cornfields. The main occupation: farming.

Burgoo and Basketball:
Next to the high school, you'll find the Lion's Club with a sign stating Burgoo Capital of the World. In fact, Franklin has the unofficial world record for the most gallons of Burgoo cooked in one evening. Each year, the community comes together to stir about 1,500 gallons of Burgoo in large uncovered kettles overnight starting at 1 a.m. to begin selling at 7 a.m. July 4 at the Lion's Club Burgoo Celebration. The celebration has taken place for over 70 years.

The Burgoo is usually sold out within an hour or more with dozens of cars lined up throughout the town left out. Burgoo is a stew with origins in for military. Some call it Roadkill Soup. It was reportedly started in Kentucky. The contents are chicken, beef, vegetables, rice, noodles and beans.

"The celebration brings the community together, not just on the fourth, but all throughout the year at various fundraisers and events," says Franklin resident JAMIE FORD-SCHUMACHER. "The collaboration of volunteers that make this happen is phenomenal."

The Franklin Burgoo 3 on 3 Tournament, ran by RICK SMITH, rivals major alike tourneys. It is well run and well attended. The tourney, which has taken place for 26 years, has also brought more attendance to the community park for the Burgoo Celebration. Participants also enjoy the backup plan. If it rains, the games move to the high school. "The 3 on 3 definitely draws people in on the fourth," says Schumacher. "The 3 on 3 tradition in our family is strong. I have watched my brothers, cousins and now my own children participate in this event. We had two champions in the family this year, BRENT LONG and LUKE SCHUMACHER (her son)." A Burgoo title is a badge of honor in Franklin. Also an imperative part of the tourney's success is the help of DARIN SEYMOUR, a jack of all trades for the community. short homecoming party wears specially for tall girls

For over 100 years, Hamilton's Catering has been based in Franklin, just off the square. Many high schoolers have worked for the business. GEORGE HAMILTONs family business is so well known and successful in the area, that they opened an equally as successful banquet and events hall in Jacksonville that has a waiting list.

The Flashes nickname lives on as the junior high still has their own basketball team. They changed their name in 2006 to align with the high school. They formerly were called the Firebirds with red school colors. The junior high is housed in the same building as the high school but uses a separate wing.

They enter the 2017-18 season as defending regional champions. Losing standout guards GRANT MARSHALL and LUKE SCHUMACHER to graduation in to high school, they return MATTHEW CROW who played up with the eighth grade last season. Marshall, Schumacher and Crow each played for the Illinois Bucks this spring/summer.

Head Coach PAT BONJEAN wants to work towards another regional title. "To duplicate that, we will need to be more balanced offensively and play better team defense," says Bonjean.

Bonjean added that Crow will be the leader with a supporting cast that includes COLLIN FOSTER, TRENTON SAMPSON, BRAYDEN COLWELL, LOGAN MAHAN, CODY SPENCER and SHAYNE WHITE. "Most of these kids come from families with deep ties to Franklin and Alexander communities," says Bonjean. He's assisted by his son, former All Conference Franklin guard CHRISTIAN.

The younger crop of Flashes will be coached by 6th/7th Grade Head Coach CHRIS SCOTT, another former Flash. He's known for coaching in the Franklin junior high ranks for over 20 years and also for opening up the gym for over 20 years on Sundays at 3 p.m. for men's open gym. Whether there's 30 or 3, Chris is there ready to play.

South County loses five to graduation but should return eight along with any newcomers that may be added to the varsity roster. The big three have graduated: 5'9" RYAN COUTURIAUX, 6' JUSTIN GILL and 6' BEN FROMME. All three were Speaks Basketball All Stars. Gill played for the Illinois Bucks and was Second Team All Conference. Couturiaux had over 1,000 career points.

Assistant Coach WILLIE SMITHs son, 5'11" JACKSON out of Franklin, is expected to be a major contributor. He enters his soph season after a productive freshman season at the varsity level. "Being on the coaching staff currently with my son on the team is a wonderful experience," says Smith. "He knows I am a coach and not dad during practices and games. I push him very hard and he takes it very well I feel. He really is very mature for his age and I very much enjoy talking basketball history and current basketball strategy with him. But mostly he makes me proud of how hard he plays."

South County opens up again in the New Berlin Turkey Tourney.

With the Franklin community strongly behind their South County Vipers, those the have bonded as past teammates wearing Flashes across their chest still hold a special place in their heart for the Franklin Flashes.

As 1964 graduate, the late DEE HOCKING would say, "Once a Flash, Always a Flash."