BRANFORD — Just run the ball baby.

That’s exactly what Branford did Thursday night, rushing for 356 yards as the Hornets downed Foran, 39-21, in a Southern Connecticut Conference Tier 3 contest at the James L. MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex.

“We were able to establish the running game and get time of possession on our side,” Branford coach John Limone said. “We knew we had to be physical to win.”

Branford also passed for 180 yards on the night as Sean Kelly completed 7 of 16 passes as the Hornets ended up with 536 yards of offense.

But it was the ground game that did the damage, especially in the latter stages of the night.

After Branford took a 26-7 lead midway through the third quarter on a four-yard dash by Kelly (86 yards rushing), things got interesting.

Foran was able to close things to 26-21 when Joe Cappello caught a pass from Lions’ quarterback Andrew Janik (15-for-32 passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns) for 12 yards with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter.

But that margin lasted all of 21 seconds as Kam Holmes (145 yards rushing and three touchdowns) took the first play from scrimmage 61 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead.

Limone was happy with the quick score.

“We did a really good job of responding tonight,” Limone said. “We knew they so they could score in bunches. Their quarterback can spin it and (receiver Will) Phelan is a matchup nightmare.”

After that, Foran struggled offensively, while Spencer Landsbach (113 yards rushing) put the game on ice with 10:27 remaining in the game with a five-yard scamper.

“Hats off to their offensive line, their running backs, offensive line coach and staff,” Foran coach Tom Drew said. “They beat us up front and there’s not much else to be said.”

Branford improved to 5-4 going into its Thanksgiving game at home against East Haven.

Foran fell to 4-5 with the loss going into their annual Thanksgiving Day game against Jonathan Law.

“Our kids are fighters,” Drew said. “We’re mentally never out of a game. Our kids will fight and battle. They just out-physicaled us and the physical team won.”

BRANFORD 39, FORAN 21

FORAN 0 7 14 0 — 21

BRANFORD 7 13 13 6 — 39

[BR] Kamryn Holmes: 8-yard run (Jake Bodner kick) at 6:45, 1st QTR

[FO] Andrew Janik: 4-yard run (John Franco Menta kick) at 6:05, 2nd QTR

[BR] Kamryn Holmes: 19-yard run (Jake Bodner kick) at 3:34, 2nd QTR

[BR] Cameron Mills: 69-yard pass from Sean Kelly at 1:52, 2nd QTR

[BR] Sean Kelly: 4-yard run at 6:15, 3rd QTR

[FO] Will Phelan: 18-yard pass from Janik (Menta kick) at 3:31, 3rd QTR

[FO] Joe Cappello: 12-yard pass from Janik (Menta kick) at 2:32, 3rd QTR

[BR] Kamryn Holmes: 61-yard run (Jake Bodner kick) at 2:11, 3rd QTR

[BR] Spencer Landsbach: 5-yard run at 10:27, 4th QTR