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Franklin County faces Loyd Star

MEADVILLE — Both Franklin County and Loyd Star have one thing in common: new coaches.

And because of that, neither team will be able to go by what the other did in past seasons when preparing for tonight’s 7:30 season opener.

Franklin County will play host to Loyd Star, and Bulldogs head coach Ricky O’Quinn said his players would have to be ready for just about everything.

“They have a new coach, just like us, so I’m pretty sure they’ll do some new stuff compared to past seasons,” O’Quinn said.

“We don’t know anything about them, so we’re preparing for anything.”

But regardless of going in blind, O’Quinn said his players should maintain the intensity they’ve shown in practice.

“Things have been going great this week. We’re working on what we do, and we pride ourselves in getting guys to have the utmost intensity when they get on the field,” he said.

“We don’t worry about what other people do, we’re just trying to get guys prepared for whatever they have out there.”

Helping to fuel the intensity is the desire to face someone else after three weeks of practice, O’Quinn said.

“We demand intensity from the kids, and they’ve been going at it for three weeks against each other. They’ll finally be able to hit someone else,” O’Quinn said.

“Going against each other, it can get tiresome, but they’ve been doing exactly what we’ve asked of them.”

Going into the season, O’Quinn talked about his team getting no respect thanks to losing nine starters. After watching his players practice, he said he could tell his players have taken that to heart.

“They have a chip on their shoulders. They take after their coaches — they’re fired up. That’s why we haven’t had to demand much intensity, because they’re fired up out here every day,” he said.

“Losing nine starters, we know people aren’t going to rank us as high as other teams.”

Most of the players replacing those nine will be sophomores and juniors, but O’Quinn said while he may lack experience starting, he wouldn’t lack talent.

“We have some returning All-District and All-State players, and we’re asking a lot out of those guys,” O’Quinn said.

“We’ve had great leadership from them. From day one, back in the spring, we sat those guys down and told them what we demanded and expected from them. They took on the role, and I’m happy for them.”

And getting off to a good start will also be key for the Bulldogs this fall.

“It’s very important to start off well, especially with a young team. If we can get off to a good start and get early wins, we’ll build momentum,” he said.

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