Franklin County to take on Hazlehurst

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MEADVILLE — In the beginning of the season, Franklin County was the young team that wasn’t getting any respect.

With older Wilkinson County and Jefferson County teams, and traditional powerhouses like Hazlehurst and Tylertown, many tabbed Franklin County as a weaker link. But after last week’s convincing 42-20 win against Wilkinson County, that might begin to change for Franklin County (3-4, 1-0).

It doesn’t make any difference to Bulldogs head coach Ricky O’Quinn, though. O’Quinn said he’s only concerned about the week-to-week improvement of his team.

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“I wouldn’t know what other teams are saying about us now,” O’Quinn said.

“I’m pretty sure they’re now saying it’s a game we should have won, but we’re not worried about rankings or respect in the district. We’re worried about getting better every game, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Franklin County’s next test is a big one, as the Bulldogs will travel to Hazlehurst for a 7 p.m. game Friday.

“They’re a good, physical football team. They’re very athletic, and we’re going to have to play our best game to beat them,” O’Quinn said.

“We just have to approach every game as we did last Friday, and play our A game to beat them. They’re a very good team that plays really well at home. We’re a young team on the road in a division game. It’s going to be tough, so were’ going to try to have our guys ready to play.”

By extension, the Bulldogs will also have to be ready to play each week as they get further along in their district schedule, he added.

“We’re in a tough district, so we’re going to have to have to play our best game from here on out,” O’Quinn said.

One critical factor to Franklin County’s win over the Wildcats last week was the opening drive, where the Bulldogs drove down the field and scored a touchdown.

“We got off to a good start. In most of the games we lost, we failed to get off to a good start,” O’Quinn said.

“That first drive was key. It was a big drive, and it let us know that we could actually drive the football. We have a balanced attack where we like to throw and pass. On defense, we played with intensity. We hadn’t been getting it all year, but we got it Friday.”

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the Bulldogs either.

“We’re in the middle of district play now. That’s what matters. Nothing that happened before district play matters,” O’Quinn said.

Slowing down Hazlehurst’s running game will be the biggest key for the Bulldogs defense this week, O’Quinn said.

“They run the football most of the time. They do have a quarterback, Gabriel Gray, who’s a good athlete,” O’Quinn said.

“They do throw it some. I think he has 10 to 12 touchdown passes this season, and he’s also a very good wide receiver for them.”