Franklin County faces big test

Published 1:59 am Friday, November 12, 2010

MEADVILLE — Franklin County played the role of underdog last week against Collins High School in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs.

But the Bulldogs weren’t intimidated by going on the road, as they beat Collins 27-6 and secured a home game in the second round.

Tonight, Franklin County will host Forest High School, the No. 1 team in Class 3A. Bulldogs head coach Ricky O’Quinn said he would like his team to take advantage of a good opportunity at home.

Email newsletter signup

“You have the chance to beat a No. 1 team at your place,” O’Quinn said. “It’s a good opportunity, and I’ve been telling them that all week.

“We have to play at home like we have on the road. We’re 2-4 at home and 3-3 away, so we’ve been a better road team that we have a home team. Fortunately, this is like golf, and we’re getting a mulligan with that, so we’ll see how our kids respond.”

O’Quinn said he was pleased with how his team played against Collins last week, and said the Bulldogs have been close in most of their games all year.

“We knew we were a good football team,” he said. “We’re six points from being 4-1 in our division. We lost to Tylertown by one point, and Jefferson County beat us by five.

“Our kids know we’re a good football club, we just have to play four quarters, and we did that last week. We still have to get better and correct some things, and hopefully we’re come out here and give these guys a fight.”

While the Bulldogs were only 2-3 in Region 7-3A, Franklin County was able to beat a team last week that was 4-1 in its region. O’Quinn said that’s a testament to how tough Region 7-3A is.

“I told someone earlier this year that you have Hazlehurst and Tylertown, us and Jefferson County. Four of the last five South State champions have come out of this district,” he said.

“It’s kind of been a playoff atmosphere for us (in this division), and we also had a tough non-conference schedule. We’ve played some good teams.”

And playing such a strong schedule is helpful in getting ready for the postseason.

“The more competition you play, the better you are in big games, and these kids know that better than anyone,” O’Quinn said. “We’ve lost four games by seven points, so we very well could be 9-3 or 9-4 instead of 5-7.”

Forest will look to bring a balanced attack on offense Friday, but the Bearcats will likely run the ball more than they throw it, O’Quinn said.

“From what we’ve seen, they run more than they throw,” O’Quinn said. “Defensively, they’re good. I don’t think they’ve given up but 39 points all year.

“We just have to remain physical. We were very physical last Friday, and we’ve been able to hang our hat on our physical play in the past. We have to be able to run the ball. If we get to throwing it 25 times a game, we’re desperate.”

Kickoff will be at 7 tonight in Meadville.