Undefeated Eagles a challenge for Bulldogs

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MEADVILLE — North Pike and South Pike may reside in the same county, but they are worlds apart when it comes to football success.

It’s something that Franklin County coach Trent Hammond will get to experience first-hand this week.

One week after destroying North Pike 42-0 to improve their overall record to 6-1, the Bulldogs will take on undefeated South Pike in an important Region 7-3A battle.

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Franklin County currently sits in third place in the region with a 2-1 record while South Pike is tied with Tylertown for first with a 3-0 record.

While the top four teams make the playoffs, only the top two have home field advantage in at least the first round.

“(Losing this game) could mean we’re traveling in the playoffs, but it all depends on how things shake out down the road,” Hammond said. “We want to win, but we want to win every Friday.”

While Franklin County has played seven games this season, South Pike has played only played four.

The Eagles’ games against Brookhaven and Warren Central were canceled earlier this season and last week was an open date.

South Pike’s three region wins are over Wilkinson County, Jefferson County and Amite County.

“South Pike is a big, strong, athletic team,” Hammond said. “They have more overall team speed and size than us. It’s one of those weeks you’ve got to rely on technique and trust that to get you a win.”

South Pike’s defense has been its strength this year. The Eagles have shut out two opponents and allowed just 20 total points in four games this season.

“They have a great big defensive line and fast linebackers,” Hammond said about the Eagles defense. “They are able to run the field and make plays. They are fast enough where they can recover and not give up a lot of big plays, and they are so physical, that it’s hard to drive the field on them. They aren’t undefeated for nothing.”

Franklin County’s defense is no slouch itself. The Bulldogs are allowing just 10.5 points per game, which is why Hammond thinks Friday’s game will be a defensive slugfest.

“That’s what it has to be,” Hammond said. “That’s the way good football teams win, by playing good defense. South Pike is traditionally one of the best teams in Southwest Mississippi. We’re not going to go down there and beat them by luck.”