Prep previews: Jefferson Co., Franklin Co. working to improve

Published 12:01 am Thursday, September 22, 2011

FAYETTE — After beating Trinity Episcopal 28-17 in its season opener, Jefferson County has hit an 0-4 slide in the last four weeks. But, Tigers head coach James Herrington said there may be more than meets the eye to the team’s losing streak.

“We’ve played solid ball clubs,” he said. “The combined record of the teams so far is 23-1, and the only loss came from us beating Trinity.

“We’ve played some pretty tough clubs, but we’ve made mistakes during that stretch. We’ve had mistakes and penalties, and it’s hard to win playing against yourself and the other team.”

Email newsletter signup

The Tigers’ pre-region schedule should prepare them for region play starting next week, Herrington said.

“With us being in one of the tougher districts in 3A, we need to play tough ball clubs early,” he said. “You have to sharpen iron with iron, you can’t sharpen it on wood, and that’s what we’ve been doing, so it ought to have us ready for conference.”

Herrington said his team still has a good attitude despite the four losses.

“They are still up and still ready to play. They are focused on this stretch. The first half (of the season) is over and now we are about to enter the second half, and we determine our own destiny.”

The Tigers open the second half of their season at South Pike Friday.

“They are pretty much like the South Pike of old,” Herrington said. “They are pretty good sized with pretty big guys that run-block well. They like to run the football out of the Wing-T. We pretty much know that when you get the Wing-T you know what you’re up against.”

Herrington said his defense is working this week to stop South Pike’s run game, and offensively they are working on the simple things.

“We are working on basic fundamentals, and things that lose football games like making sure we protect the football and make smart decisions.”

Herrington said eliminating mistakes will play a huge role in his team getting back to the winner’s circle.

“We have to win the turnover battle,” he said. “We have to take care of the football and force turnovers. We also have to limit mental mistakes.”

Herrington said his team has battled a string of injuries this season, and last week’s game was the first time since the season-opener that the Tigers had all five starting offensive linemen healthy.

“We also get our running back and our number two receiver, so health-wise things are starting to look up. The morale of our team is good, and it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

Friday’s game against South Pike will be the Tigers’ last game outside of Region 7-3A play, and Herrington said it will be important for his team to go into region play off of a win.

Jefferson County (1-4) will travel to South Pike (3-2), and kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Franklin County

MEADVILLE — The Franklin County football team has had a roller coaster season so far.

The Bulldogs won their first two games, then went on a two-game losing streak. Last week they defeated Amite County, and head coach Rickey O’Quinn said he hopes his team can continue its up-swing.

“We tell our kids that’s what a season is all about,” he said. “It has ups and downs, and it was down for us (before last week), but we were up for the first two games. Hopefully now that we’ve been on both extremes we know what it takes to stay up this time.”

The Bulldogs look to improve to 4-2 Friday when they host Lawrence County.

“They like to run the football,” O’Quinn said. “They use a two tight end, double-wing formation and pound it right at you. They’ve run that offense for a while now, and we’ve seen it a lot, so we just have to execute and stop it.”

O’Quinn said his defensive players will have to focus on knowing their assignments, being disciplined and doing what the coaches teach them.

“If we are not disciplined, they can do some damage with it,” he said.

O’Quinn said turnovers would be the main key to the game, and it Franklin County’s two losses it has lost the turnover battles.

Franklin County will open Region 7-3A play next week against Wilkinson County, and O’Quinn said finishing a tough pre-region schedule 4-2 would be great for his team.

Franklin County (3-2) will host Lawrence County (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.