Franklin County bests Jefferson County, 28-18

Published 1:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2014

For Franklin County High School, it was the thrill of victory. For Jefferson County High School, it was the agony of defeat – in more ways than one.

Benard Selmon had two short touchdown runs and Danzel Allen intercepted two passes, returning one of the them for a touchdown late in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 28-18 Friday night in an MHSAA Division 7-3A game.

With the win, Franklin County (7-3) ran the table in division play, going 5-0. Unfortunately for Jefferson County (5-5, 2-3), the loss combined with Wilkinson County’s 33-6 win over Wesson eliminated the Tigers from postseason contention.

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“It was an odd situation having to play after we’ve already clinched (the division championship),” Bulldogs head coach Anthony Hart said. “Jefferson County has a really good team. We did a few things to come out on top. It’s very important for momentum.”

Both teams struggled to run the ball effectively in this rivalry game. Franklin County was held to 110 yards on the ground on 38 total carries while Jefferson County had 112 yards on 31 total carries.

Each team’s leading ball carrier, Selmon for the Bulldogs and Arthur Norton for the Tigers, failed to get to the 100-yard mark. Selmon finished with 75 yards on 24 carries, but he did have a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and a 1-yard scoring run late in the third quarter.

But as Hart put it, Franklin County didn’t have too many possessions to work with. And with Jefferson County down 21-8 and then 28-8 in the third quarter, the Tigers threw the ball more than they’re used to doing.

“The fourth quarter, we tried to run the clock out,” Hart said. “We got ahead. They threw the ball a lot and that’s where a lot of their yards came from. I thought our kids controlled the game.”

Rashard Brown completed 15 of 30 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns. But he also threw three interceptions, one of which was returned 33 yards for a touchdown by Allen with 1:51 left in the third quarter.

“He read the play, stepped in front of it and ran it back for a touchdown,” Hart said.

Jefferson County cut the lead to 28-16 on Brown’s 21-yard TD pass to James Herrington Jr. with 7:18 remaining. Then with 1:00 left, Franklin County ran the ball out of the end zone instead of taking the chance of having a punt blocked and possibly being recovered in the end zone for a Jefferson County touchdown. That resulted in a safety and the final two points of the game.

Chris O’Quinn led the Bulldogs’ defense with 16 tackles and one interception while Michael White had 11 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Franklin County will host a first-round game against an opponent to be determined next Friday night in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs.