Region 7-3A comes down to final weekPublished 12:01am Tuesday, October 23, 2012
MEADVILLE — When Franklin County and Jefferson County high schools face off Friday night, it will be for more than just bragging rights.
The waters of MHSAA Region 7-3A are currently a bit murky beyond clear No. 1 Hazlehurst High School, and the Bulldogs and Tigers are both vying for the No. 2 seed in the region.
Hazlehurst (10-0, 4-0) secured the region with a win against Jefferson County (5-5, 3-1) Friday, and the Tigers can win the No. 2 seed outright with a win against Franklin County (6-4, 2-2).
If the Tigers lose, that’s where things could get interesting. If Wilkinson County High School (7-2, 2-2) beats Prentiss High School Friday, there could be a three-way tie for the No. 2 spot if Franklin County gets the win.
“(Jefferson County) could go from second to possible fourth, so they know the implications, and they’ll come out ready to play,” Bulldogs head coach Ricky O’Quinn said.
Jefferson County head coach James Herrington said he’s hoping to avoid any confusion about where his Tigers finish the regular season.
“A loss at Franklin County, and I don’t know how it’ll turn out,” Herrington said. “A loss from someone else or (margin of victory) may come into play. We have the opportunity to decide which spot we come in, so we have to take care of ourselves.”
Herrington said he’s expecting to see a strong running game and a speedy defense from the Bulldogs.
“They have some size in certain areas (on defense), but it looks like they play off of speed, so that’s an area we’ll have to watch,” Herrington said.
O’Quinn said he’s been impressed with how well the Tigers have done when conference play began after going 2-4 in non-regional games to start the season.
“They played some good ball clubs prior to divisional play,” O’Quinn said. “I’m pretty sure the coaches made the kids aware that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. That seems to be the case with them.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Franklin County.
Prentiss at Wilkinson County
Though Wilkinson County is currently in the playoff-bound top four of Region 7-3A, head coach Kenneth Brown said his team couldn’t afford to overlook Prentiss.
Brown pointed to last season’s 27-26 loss at Prentiss as a reminder that anything can happen on any given Friday.
“We let it be close last year, and they came back and beat us by one,” Brown said. “Prentiss isn’t very big, but they’re a scrappy bunch.”
After starting off conference play with a win at Franklin County, Wilkinson County lost two straight to Jefferson County and Hazlehurst. The Wildcats rebounded last week with a win at Crystal Springs.
“We shouldn’t have let ourselves get in this situation, but we have to play the game and do what we do,” Brown said. “At this stage of the game, we have to put (the past) behind us.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Wilkinson County.