Franklin County faces Morton in 3A quarterfinals

Published 12:49 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MEADVILLE — Franklin County’s defense has been playing lights out football for several weeks now.

The Bulldogs have allowed just seven total points in their last three games and are coming off a 20-7 victory over Philadelphia in which they held the state’s second leading rusher Brandon Willis to just 48 yards.

“They did a great job,” Franklin County coach Trent Hammond said. “Coach (Adam) Barron came up with a game plan that took Philadelphia out of what they have done all year. In the first half we held them to just 29 yards. The kids hung in there and gave a great performance.”

Email newsletter signup

Hammond is hoping for a similar effort from his defense as Franklin County (10-3) travels to play Morton (12-1) in the quarterfinals of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs Friday night.

Morton runs an option offense that has averaged 36 points per game this season.

The only game that the Panthers offense failed to get on track was a 6-2 loss to Forest on Oct. 23.

“They run a flex bone offense, like Georgia Tech or the military academies,” Hammond said. “They run the veer, midline offense and do a great job with it.”

And that offense takes defensive discipline to stop, which is what Franklin County will be working on in practice this week, Hammond said.

“It comes down to assignment football. Everybody has got to be where they’re supposed to be, to take care of the dive, quarterback and pitch,” Hammond said. “You’ve got to do that every time. There can’t be any exceptions. That’s kind of the key for this week. Dive, quarterback and pitch.”

But while Franklin County’s defense will try to stop the option offense of the Panthers, the Bulldog offense must try to get past a mammoth Morton defensive line which is considered one of the best in the state.

“Their defensive line is huge,” Hammond said. “Every coach I’ve talked to said their defensive line is the best one they’ve seen in a long time. We’ve got our hands full to handle them. It really puts pressure on our offensive line. The kids will get in there and give the best effort they can give.”

And that is what Franklin County’s players have been doing ever since they got off to an 0-2 start.

The Bulldogs have won 10 of their last 11 games, and are playing their best football of the season now.

“It just goes back to the kids focusing each week like we’ve done all year,” Hammond said. “Some say they’ve got a good football IQ, and understand the game and what we’re trying to get accomplished in the game. That comes with experience.”