° empty

FCHS turns up offense after slow start vs. Natchez High

Franklin County High School’s Hoby Mullins and Natchez High School’s Terry Harris race for the ball during Tuesday’s game. Mullins tallied a hat trick, or three goals, as Franklin County defeated Natchez, 5-0. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — It only took one goal for the Franklin County High School boys soccer team to get going.

After that, there was little Natchez High School could do to fend off the visiting Bulldogs Tuesday night.

After a scoreless first half, Franklin County exploded in the second half to take a 5-0 win against the home team Bulldogs, keeping its undefeated record in check. Hoby Mullins was the star of the game on offense, scoring three of Franklin County’s five goals for a hat trick.

“It feels good,” Mullins said of the hat trick. “I think it’s my third one (this season). I don’t really try to get them, but if they’re there, I’ll take them. I just want to win — it doesn’t matter who scores.”

Less than two minutes into the second half, Franklin County’s Johnnie Moore woke his team up from its slumber with a shot on goal to put the visiting Bulldogs ahead 1-0.

Eight minutes later, Mullins scored his first goal, then marched back down the field and followed it up with his second goal less than a minute later. Mullins said afterward that Moore’s shot helped ignite the team after a slow first half.

“That’s been our team all season,” Moore said. “After we get our first goal, we turn it on and dominate after that.”

A penalty kick by Brendan Beach gave Franklin County a 4-0 lead with approximately 23 minutes left in play. Mullins scored his final goal with less than two minutes to go in regulation.

Franklin County head coach Jeff Long said he was pleased with his team’s adjustments from the first half to the second half.

“In the first half, we forced everything straight into pressure,” Long said. “Once we quit forcing everything down the middle and opened up the offense by creating more space, we used that space and turned things around.”

Long also said he wasn’t surprised with Mullins stepping up for his team, since his center midfielder already had 21 goals on the season.

“He’s our go-to guy,” Long said. “He’s our motor that makes us go.”

NHS assistant coach Sekufele Lewanika, who was filling while head coach Dai Vu was out of town, said his team ran into a Franklin County team that was simply more experienced than the home team Bulldogs.

“We gave them a run for it,” Lewanika said. “Sometimes in defeat a team learns to be better.”

Franklin County keepers Trey Bailey and Snoop Verdin combined for the shutout.

NHS fell to 6-2 on the season, while Franklin County rose to 12-0. Mullins said the visiting Bulldogs’ undefeated record is a testament to the players’ togetherness.

“We’re playing more as a team than we have in the past, and we pass the ball better than we used to,” Mullins said.

Franklin County 4, NHS girls 0

Four separate Franklin County players scored as the visiting Lady Bulldogs shut out NHS.

Krislyn Kent, Si’Edria Middleton and Brianna Brumfield all scored goals, and Kristen Emory added a goal on a penalty kick.

Franklin County keepers Macy Zisken and Tristan Smith both combined for the shutout.

NHS (1-4) will play Friday at Lawrence County, while Franklin County (9-2-1) will host Loyd Star Friday.