Franklin County ready to start season

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MEADVILLE — Franklin County High School won’t exactly know what to expect when it heads to North Pike Friday night.

With it being the opening game of the season, the Bulldogs don’t have any film to create a gameplan from. So all head coach Rickey O’Quinn is working on is making sure his team focuses on itself, he said.

“We’re just going to try to do what we do well,” O’Quinn said.

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“You just have to focus on (yourself). Sometimes you can know what a team likes to do as far as formations, but it changes from year to year. Sometimes you know what you’re getting, other times you don’t.”

And since Franklin County doesn’t have any video on North Pike from last year either, it’s all a moot point.

“They have the (A.J.) Jefferson kid who’s a Dandy Dozen player,” O’Quinn said. “They have the (Vernon) Butler kid at defensive end, and they have the (Travez) Taylor kid at defensive back that’s really good.

“That’s three bona fide players that we know, and I’m sure they have some guys that complement them. We haven’t seen anything on them from last year, we just know some of the personnel they have.”

With several weeks of just practicing against each other, O’Quinn said his players are very eager to get a game under their belts.

“They’ve been out here for three weeks pounding and beating each other up, so they’re eager to line up against someone else and see how all the hard work pays off,” O’Quinn said.

And O’Quinn said last season’s 43-7 loss to Forest in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs has helped fuel his team since winter of last year.

“We took an early exit for our standards, and our guys have been working hard since November trying to get back to the level we were playing at a couple of years ago,” he said.

“We were competitive last year, but we lost a couple of close games, so we’re preaching that they play four quarters and be able to finish.”

And playing a team of North Pike’s caliber only adds to that motivation, O’Quinn said.

“They were the South State champs of 4A last year, so being able to go there and beat them on their home field would be a good thing,” O’Quinn said.

“I’ve told the kids that we had one of the toughest schedules in 3A last year, and we really played some quality opponents. They’ve been there before, they just have to approach every game the same way whether it’s a 5A, 2A or 1A team.”

Scheduling difficult teams like North Pike is also a good way to prepare the team for the district schedule later in the season.

“We felt like our guys were battle-tested last year when we got to district,” O’Quinn said. “It allows you to compete at a high level, and a lot of times, when you play a 4A or 5A team, it’s a playoff atmosphere, so it really helps.”

Kickoff at North Pike is at 7:30 p.m. Friday.