Desire wins out for Franklin County

Published 2:41 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

MEADVILLE — It wasn’t that Franklin County had more talent than Wilkinson County — it’s just that the Bulldogs wanted it more.

That was Wilkinson County head coach Elbert Lyles’ explanation following his team’s disappointing 42-20 loss to Franklin County Friday night. The game was Franklin County’s homecoming game, and both teams’ first district game of the season.

“We took a butt whipping. We didn’t show up in any phase of the game,” Lyles said.

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“For whatever reason, we were not ready to play. We gave up 20 points in the first quarter, we couldn’t move the ball and we couldn’t stop them. It was embarrassing.”

For Bulldogs head coach Ricky O’Quinn, the win was a breath of fresh air following a tough non-district schedule to open the season.

“This is a big win. Our guys stepped up tonight. We challenged them and told them this was the second season. Everything that happened before this doesn’t matter,” O’Quinn said.

“I’m proud of my players, and we’re going to continue to get better. Our guys are battle-tested. They’ve played some tough teams, and I’m excited about how much better we’ve gotten. We’re getting better every week.”

The Bulldogs opened the game with a 5:41 drive that ended on a 3-yard touchdown carry by running back Jimmy Barnes to put Franklin County up 7-0.

On the ensuing Wildcat possession, Wilkinson County failed to convert a first down and was forced to punt. Franklin County started on their own 49, and Milton Griffin broke a 38-yard run to the Wildcats 3. Several plays later, Franklin County scored on a 1-yard run by Jadarius Davis on fourth down.

The Wildcats once again went three and out on their next possession, punting the ball for their second consecutive drive and giving the Bulldogs the ball on their own 41. Their third scoring drive only took one play, as Davis connected with Griffin on a 59-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 20-0 at the end of the first.

“That first drive was key for us. It really set the tone and let us know that we could move the ball,” O’Quinn said.

In the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ Jeramany Washington recovered a Wilkinson County fumble and ran it back 28 yards for a touchdown with 6:33 left before halftime.

Later in the quarter, an interception by Franklin County’s James Green set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Barnes, putting Franklin County up 35-0 at the half.

The Bulldogs scored their final touchdown with 9:23 left in the third on a 31-yard touchdown catch by Billy Norman.

Wilkinson County scored a touchdown in the third quarter on a 3-yard run by Stevenson Veals. The Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on receptions of 20 and 9 yards by Kenyon McDonald.

Despite the loss, Lyles said he still thinks his team has the potential to be good.

“We’re not making any excuses. We’re going to look at the mistakes and get better. We learned tonight that you have to be ready to come out and play,” Lyles said.

Franklin County rose to 3-4 on the season, 1-0 in district play. Wilkinson County fell to 4-2 on the season, 0-1 in district play.