Defending state champs Franklin Co. makes playoffs

Published 1:20 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

MEADVILLE — Led by an aggressive running attack and a standout defense, the Class 3A defending champion Franklin County Bulldogs cashed in a playoff ticket to the 3A dance with a dominant 34-14 victory over the Amite County Trojans.

“I’m proud of my guys,” head coach Grady McCluskey said. “We won four straight, after losing two district games early. I’m proud of my guys for not folding and staying with it.”

The Bulldogs (8-2, 4-2) will travel to Region 8-3A runner-up Sumrall Friday night, beginning at 7:00.

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“I’m glad we are in there (playoffs), “ added McCluskey. “A lot of people didn’t want us in there, but we’re in.”

FC junior cornerback Alex Smith made sure of that from the get go, as he took an interception back 47-yards for a quick 7-0 Bulldog lead.

Moments later in the second quarter, the Bulldogs struck again as Jordan Hunt hit paydirt from 6-yards out. FC junior kicker Jace Carlock added the PAT, for the 14-0 FC lead.

Amite County (5-5, 2-4) scored late in the second quarter, as Trey Beteaste got loose for a 18-yard TD burst. QB Anthony Cain connected with Beteaste for the two-point conversion, to cut the deficit to 14-8.

Franklin County looked to their Hunt connection again before halftime, as sophomore fullback Alan Hunt scored from 3-yards on a run up the middle.

“Tonight was the night to go beast mode,” said a sweat soaked Alan Hunt after the game. “I just did what I had to do.”

Alan Hunt, who teammates call ‘Frank,’ scored his second touchdown of the night in the third period from 7-yards out to give FC a commanding 27-8 lead.

Jamie Collins, the Bulldogs 6-4, 210-pound junior QB would add last points of the night with his rival arm, as he hit Jordan from 21-yards out for the clinching score.

Amite County scored late to off a Cain pass to Alexander Cobb as the buzzer sounded for the final margin.

“We’re still making to many penalties and having to many turnovers,” said McCluskey. “Still I’m glad we won, and proud of my team.”

The Bulldogs will attempt to become the first Class 3A team since Amory in the mid 1990’s and Collins five years ago, to repeat as 3A champions.

“It’s a hard task,” said McCluskey. “Everyone is 0 and 0 now. It’s a new season.”

FC senior defensive end Josh Tillman led all hitters with 12 tackles and a sack. Alex Smith had two interceptions, while Darnell Ford deflected two passes and picked off one. 6-6, 300-pound senior defensive tackle Bo Tillman had 6 tackles and a fumble recovery.

“We made plays tonight,” said McCluskey. “That’s something we’ve got to keep doing and limit our mistakes.”