Franklin County stays alive

Published 1:19 am Saturday, November 15, 2008

HAZLEHURST — Franklin County head coach Trent Hammond knew his Bulldogs would be in for a battle Friday night against Hazlehurst in the second round of the MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs.

In a rematch of an early-season game that was won by Franklin County, the Bulldogs were up to the challenge of taking on a familiar opponent as they defeated the Indians 35-20 on the road to improve to 11-1.

Even though Franklin County defeated Hazlehurst 21-6 nearly three months ago and the Bulldogs went into the game with a better overall record than the Indians, Hazlehurst hosted the game by virtue of winning Region 6-3A while Franklin County was runner-up in Region 7-3A.

Email newsletter signup

The key play of the game occurred with 10:21 to go in the fourth quarter. After Justin Durr threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Fred Fuller to cut Franklin County’s lead to 21-20, the Indians went for two points and the lead. But the Bulldogs held them out of the end zone and took control of the game from that point.

“Defense made a big stop when Hazlehurst went for two,” Franklin County head coach Trent Hammond said. “Then our offense power runs it down the field and scores on them.”

Bulldogs quarterback Jamie Collins capped off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run and Jace Carlock added the all-important extra point to give them a 28-20 lead with 9:11 left. Then with just 29 seconds left, Alex Smith put the game out of reach with a 50-yard touchdown run that gave the visitors a 15-point lead.

Collins had 169 yards rushing on 16 carries and three touchdowns. He also completed one of four passes for 20 yards, that one a touchdown pass to Jarvis King late in the first quarter that, along with Smith’s two-point conversion run, gave Franklin County a 14-6 lead.

“We ran the ball effectively. We tried to throw the ball some and we missed a few guys who were open. Guys fell down coming out of their breaks,” Hammond said. “We found a formation that we hadn’t used off alignment.”

Fuller did his best to give Hazlehurst (8-3) a chance to win the game as he had nine carries for 139 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Cornelius Crump had a 51-yard touchdown run early in the ball game.

“Our defense played well. Hazlehurst probably has more speed than any team in the state and we have some speed,” Hammond said.

Franklin County will hit the road for the second straight week as it will take on Region 8-3A champion Columbia in a South State semifinal match-up at 7 p.m. Friday.