Franklin Co. faces challenge

Published 12:02 am Friday, October 19, 2007

MEADVILLE — Franklin County head football coach Grady McCluskey knows the task his Bulldogs have ahead of them tonight, and it’s a big one.

The defending 3A champions will welcome an upstart South Pike team to Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium at 7 tonight for a Southwest Mississippi showdown.

South Pike currently leads Region 7-3A with narrow victories over Jefferson County and Amite County, while Franklin County is trying to regroup.

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“It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure,” said McCluskey. “South Pike is South Pike, they are always one of the best teams in the state.”

The Eagles (4-2, 3-0) are coming off an open date. Pike County schools enjoyed fall break last week.

Coached by Randall Huffman, the Eagles run a spread offense that mixes in the veer and other formations.

South Pike is quarterbacked by sophomore Tevin Martin. The Eagles also have a big offensive line that averages 285 pounds.

“We’ve got to come ready to play,” said McCluskey. “Every game from here on out is big for us.”

The Bulldogs (5-2, 1-2) broke a two-game losing streak last week, beating rival North Pike 38-7. The contest featured the return of Bulldog junior all-state quarterback Jamie Collins, who rushed for 121 yards on eight carries with two scores.

Bulldog junior fullback Jordan Hunt gained a game-high 122 yards on the ground on eight attempts. He also scored two touchdowns. Junior cornerback Jarvis King returned an interception 25 yards for a score, while senior linebacker Carlos Johnson had a game-high 12 tackles and two pass deflections.

South Pike currently leads the division, with Jefferson County and Tylertown sitting 2-3. Franklin County is tied for fourth place with Amite County. The top four teams for the division make the playoffs after the regular season is completed.

“We just have to take one game at a time and play hard,” adds McCluskey. “Everything else will take care of itself.”