Vikings escape Franklin Co.

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2000

MEADVILLE – Disappointment. That’s what many Franklin CountyBulldog players and fans felt Friday night after an 8-6 loss to thehands of the Vidalia Vikings.

MEADVILLE – Disappointment. That’s what many Franklin CountyBulldog players and fans felt Friday night after an 8-6 loss to thehands of the Vidalia Vikings. The Bulldogs were coming off anothertwo-point loss in the previous week against Loyd Star 15-13, andthis one just seemed to add to the Bulldogs grief.

“I thought we were the better team tonight. We just didn’t takeadvantage,” said Bulldog coach Michael Goff.

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Goff watched his Bulldogs play what could be the mostdisappointing offensive game in recent memory at Louie MullinsField. The Dawgs total offense wasn’t all bad with 234 yards ofoffense, all rushing; and mostly by senior wingback WesleyHickingbottom who accounted for 135 yards on 10 carries plus andadditional 210 of all purpose yards. Turnovers hurt the Dawgs.

“Hickingbottom made them go,” said long time Viking coach DeeFaircloth. “The game could have went either way. Our defense justmade the plays when we needed them.”

Faircloth saw his Vikings take the opening kickoff 70 yards insix plays for the quick 8-0 lead, highlighted by senior standoutquarterback Jarret Hoffpauir who connected with fellow seniorslot-back Ryan Boles from seven yards out. After a T.J. Bands twopoint dash the Vikings gripped the Bulldogs 8-0.

The Bulldogs received the ball next and gathered an answer in a33- yard carry by Hickingbottom. The Bulldogs seem to be in scoringposition, but the Vikings stopped any hopes of that by strippingsenior fullback Wade Woodcock of the football at the four yardline.

The Bulldogs began the second quarter by sending junior TommySmith up the middle for a 30 yard carry at the Viking 32. After twoBulldog no-gainers the Vikings sent in the sack crew to tend tosenior quarterback Walt Davis on third down.

On fourth down the Bulldogs went to their senior weapon in ColeZumbro for a 36 yard field goal attempt. The Vikings answered thatwith a Byron Prince block, sending the Bulldog defense back ontothe field. After playing tough defense, the Bulldogs got the ballback for a second time. It was short lived, as Davis connected withthe opposition in Viking defensive back James Hill who took thepass 14 yards to the 49 yard line.

The Vikings took over in the remaining minute looking foranother score. But the Bulldogs monstrous defensive front, led bysenior Jharad Faust and junior James Hunt, didn’t let that happenas the Vikings were forced to run out the remaining seconds of thefirst half.

The Bulldogs entered the second half ready to win but theVikings defense continued their death-grip on the furious Bulldogoffense. The Bulldogs then went to their money man in W.Hickingbottom for runs of 15 and 10 yards. The Bulldogs foundthemselves on the Viking 18 yard line looking for their first scoreof the night.

The Bulldogs first option was senior Shirmon McNair, who wasgreeted with a no gain grin on first down. On second down theBulldogs struck gold as Hickingbottom dashed through the Vikingline for a tackle-breaking 18 yard stripe. After amis-communication on the two point conversion, the Vikings held anarrow 8-6 lead.

As the fourth quarter rolled along the Bulldogs found themselvesagain in scoring position on the Viking 25 yard line. Thanks toBulldog offensive lineman T.J. Hawley who recovered two fumbles onthe drive, the Bulldogs were in position to score as they enteredanother first down on the 14-yard line. Then those yellow thingsstarted coming, penalty flags that backed the Dawgs up to the 36yard line after three downs. On fourth down the Dawgs looked toSmith for a wishful answer, but the Vikings stopped that on the 30yard line.

The Vikings ran off the remaining 1:35 of the game due to firstdowns by Hoffpauir, to savor the close 8-6 victory.

“It always feels good to get the first game out of the way,”said Faircloth. “I’m happy we won. But I know Franklin could hadeasily took this one.

“Coach Goff’s one of the classy coaches I know,” Fairclothcontinued. He has a very good team here, that should be in thethick of things in their division and the playoffs,” addedFaircloth.

Offensively the Vikings were led by Bands on the ground with 54yards on 24 carries. Hoffpauir threw for 68 yards on four-for-eightpassing.

For the Bulldogs Smith had 38 yards on four carries, McNair 40yards on nine carries, and Woodcock 25 yards on 10 carries.

Defensively, the Dawgs were led byHickingbottom with 11 tackles. Faust, Hunt and Taylor McMinn eachchipped in with 10 tackles. Juniors Vance Windom and WalterAnderson added an additional 5 tackles, while sophomore Hardy Foxadded a 2 tackles and a sack.

The Vikings were led by Watson with 9 tackles, Josh Bush with 7tackles and a sack, and Hill with 5 tackles and a interception.@Bbstandings:STATISTICS V FC First Downs 11 7 Rushes-Yards42-115 34-234 Passing Yards 68 0 Total Yards 184 234 Passes 4-8-00-1-1 Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1 Punts-Average 6-32.2 3-32.7Penalties-Yards 6-45 q5-25 Vidalia,La. 8 0 0 0 – 8 Franklin Co. 0 06 0 -6 FIRST QUARTER Vidalia, Boles 7 pass from Hoffpauir (Bandskick), 5:26. THIRD QUARTER Franklin Co., W. Hickingbottom 18 run(run failed), 10:13. INDIVIDUAL LEADERS RUSHING: Vidalia, Bands24-54, Boles 7-50, HOffpauir 8-12, Hancock 3-3. Franklin Co.,Hickingbottom 10-135, McNair 9-40, T. Smith 4-38, Woodcock 10-25.PASSING: Vidalia, Hoffpauir 4-8-0, 68. Franklin Co., Davis 0-1-1,0. RECEIVING: Vidalia, Hancock 1-29, Bush 1-21, Boles 2-19.Franklin Co., none.