Don’t get mad, get even

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 28, 2008

Fayette — It’s the revenge game Franklin County has been waiting for.

Tylertown handed the Bulldogs their only loss of the season Sept. 26, and now they have a chance for redemption.

The Chiefs will visit Franklin County Friday in the MHSAA Class 3A South State finals, and the Bulldogs will look to avenge the 13-7 defeat.

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“Watching film you can tell they’re a bloody-nosed football team, and they have been for the past 10 years,” said Franklin County coach Trent Hammond. “They’re going to line up and be physical. They lined up and physically dominated Newton County last week. They physically dominated Magee the week before that, and before that, the first time we saw film on them, they had dominated everyone.”

The first time the two teams met ended in an odd score for the Chiefs. Franklin County’s Jamien Lewis fumbled the ball on the Bulldogs’ 8-yard line, and Tylertown’s Ken Brown fell on it as it rolled into the end zone for six points.

Other than that the two teams were at a 7-7 stalemate for most of the game, and Hammond said he expects the same hard ballgame again.

“It’s going to be a physical football game,” he said. “Tylertown likes to line it up and run right at you. They have a great offensive line and great backs.

“They throw the ball maybe two or three times a game. They just try to run right at you and knock you around.”

The Bulldogs know in order to win this time around, they will have to do the same thing.

Franklin County quarterback Jamie Collins ran for 141 yards on 19 carries last time and will lead the Bulldogs again.

“I don’t care if you’re playing in the NFL or in junior high, you’ve got to be able to run the football,” Hammond said. “Everybody that’s left can run the ball. Nobody still playing at this point wants to throw it. So we’ll run the football, just like we have all year.”

The only problem for the Bulldogs is a strain of minor injuries that have plagued them throughout the postseason.

Collins is in the list of players with sprained ankles, and others have torn up knees and separated shoulders that they played through a 7-0 win against Columbia with this past weekend.

“We were limited last week, and we’re still nursing those (injuries) this week,” Hammond said. “We’re beat up pretty good. We are probably the least-healthy team left playing.”

That win came as Alex Smith scored a 16-yard run with just 11 minutes left in a true defensive match up.

Hammond said despite the loss to Tylertown two months ago, his team did learn something that will be useful on Friday.

“We’ll have to match them blow for blow,” Hammond. “I mean, last time they just kind of lined up and did whatever they wanted to us both offensively and defensively. We’ve got to stand in there and hit right back.”