Franklin County facing top team in 3A-Region 8

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

MEADVILLE — At this point in the season, Franklin County coach Trent Hammond knows any team still playing has to be pretty good.

That includes his Bulldogs and their MHSAA 3A south state semifinal opponent, Columbia.

“They’re really good,” he said. “There are only eight 3A teams playing in Mississippi this weekend, so they’re one of the top eight teams in 3A.”

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The Bulldogs are coming off a 35-20 win at Hazlehurst in round two to improve to 11-1, while the Wildcats are 10-2 after a 25-14 win against South Pike last week.

Franklin County beat South Pike 42-6 earlier this season.

“They don’t score a whole lot of points, usually, but they score what they need to to win,” Hammond said of Columbia.

“Their defense makes sure of that.”

Hammond said he has not yet changed the Bulldogs’ game plan to fit Columbia.

He said depending on what the Wildcats give him, quarterback Jamie Collins can either throw the ball or the game can be played on the ground.

Either way, Franklin County will have to be disciplined.

“They run a lot of extreme-type blitzes, sending everyone they have,” Hammond said. “We’re going to have to just be disciplined and carry out our assignments, and we’ll have to play with our heads up to make sure we see them coming.”

Aside from what Hammond calls an extremely aggressive defense, the Wildcats also have a 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound running back to whom they like to feed the ball.

Columbia’s first loss came in its season-opener against Magee, 25-7, and its only Region 8 loss was 18-14 to Purvis, making the Wildcats the region champions.

They beat Crystal Springs 18-8 in the first round.

“This is probably one of the best teams we’ve played up to this time,” Hammond said. “They’re extremely fast and physical, although they’re not the biggest team.”