Franklin County to face Hazlehurst tonight

Published 12:07 am Friday, October 7, 2011

Meadville — The Franklin County High School football team heads into tonight’s showdown with third-ranked Hazlehurst playing some of its best football of the season.

The Bulldogs have won their last three games, including a 22-18 win over Wilkinson County in their first Region 7-3A game of the season last week.

Hazlehurst (5-1, 1-0) brings a strong team to Meadville today, Bulldogs’ head coach Rickey O’Quinn said.

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“They have a bunch of athletes out there, and they run a spread offense and run it well,” O’Quinn said. “They seem to be a disciplined ball club. They are extremely fast and physical. We are going to have to come out and play assignment football and be disciplined.”

After fighting through a few injuries in last week’s game, O’Quinn said his team has used this week to get healthy and focus on fundamentals.

“We are focused really on getting better and the details,” he said. “This late in the year you have to get better with the simple things. I think that’s what makes you better this late in the season. If we don’t fix what we are doing wrong it doesn’t matter what Hazlehurst does.”

O’Quinn said his team is as healthy as it has been all season, and the Bulldogs are looking to build on the success they have established in the last three weeks.

“We’ve been paying attention to details and getting the job done in that area,” he said. “Our offensive line is blocking well, our backs are taking the right holes and our defense is playing assignment football.”

O’Quinn said the Bulldogs’ success on early down plays will play a huge role in the game tonight.

“Being able to run the football successfully on first and second down and put ourselves in manageable third downs will be key,” he said. “(Hazlehurst) is an explosive ball club, and we don’t want our defense on the field all night.”

Franklin County (5-2, 1-0) has already won as many games this season as it did in last year’s campaign, and O’Quinn said a win today would be another huge step for his team.

“It would be great for our ball club and great for the community,” he said. “Our guys have been battling all season to get to 5-2. It took us 13 games to get five wins last season. We had to tell the guys not to feel sorry for themselves after last season, and we are seeing good results. We just have to come out and play the same brand of football we’ve played in the last seven games.”

Hazlehurst will travel to Meadville to face the Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. today.