Bulldog defense steps up

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 4, 2006

The Franklin County Bulldogs went into Saturday’s MHSAA Class 3A state championship game knowing their defense would have its hands full against the explosive offense of Nettleton.

Things didn’t quite materialize that way.

Franklin County held the Tigers to just 165 yards of total offense in winning its first state title, and head coach Grady McCluskey said he expected as much.

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“I thought my defense could shut them down,” McCluskey said. “That’s not taking anything away from Nettleton, I just knew they hadn’t seen anything like our defense. After the Natchez game we didn’t give up more than 14 points.”

One thing that gave the Bulldog defense an advantage was its stout defensive line, according to McCluskey.

“We just played a man defense with two safeties back,” he said. “We didn’t have to bring much pressure because we had down lineman good enough to do it. We knew they hadn’t seen a defense like ours, and our kids worked hard. They deserved this win.”

King happy to hold off Briarfield

CLINTON — The Trinity Saints got all they wanted and more from heavy underdog Briarfield Thursday in the MPSA Class A state championship game, and head coach David King said a lot of credit should go to the Rebel receiving corps.

“They kind of had us outmanned in some spots,” he said. “They had some good receivers that made some big plays.”

For his part, running back Stevan Ridley, who rushed 51 times for 319 yards on an injured ankle, carried a heavy load for the Saints.

“I didn’t know I could do it,” Ridley said. “I threw an interception when we were driving, and I said at halftime to put it on my back. This is a great team, and the line did a great job.”