• 70°

Wilkinson whips Franklin Co. 31-10 in Meadville

MEADVILLE – Continuing their Division 6-3A dominance. That’s thestatement made clear by the back to back division championWilkinson County Wildcats in a 31-10 Friday night decision over theBulldogs of Franklin County at Louie Mullins Stadium.

Sparked by a second half explosion. The Wildcats extended theirdivisional winning streak to 12.

“We made some mistakes we shouldn’t have made,” said FranklinCounty Bulldog head coach Michael Goff. “Our season was veryinteresting. We were a play here and there from being in theplayoffs.”

The Bulldogs (3-7, 3-3) could have easily been 8 and 2, losingfive games by five points or less. They finished with a three gamelosing streak.

“We had a good team; we just didn’t get the breaks,” saidBulldog pulling guard/defensive end Brandon Touchstone. “Our teamplayed hard, each and every game this year. We’re better than ourrecord shows.”

The Bulldogs held the Wildcats in check most of the firstquarter, taking a 3-0 lead of a 23 yard field goal from senior ColeZumbro.

After a numerous Bulldog fumbles, the Wildcats used the air gameoff a Travis Dent to Peter Lollis 50 yard scoring jaunt. After anoffsides penalty on the Dawgs, the Wildcats went to their all-statefullback Mark Frederick from one yard out, on the conversion.

Trailing 8-3 to the high powered Wildcats (8-1, 6-0). TheBulldogs offense was held silent as the Wildcats forced Zumbro topunt a 50 yard bomber. After runs of 20 and 15 by Frederick, theBulldogs got the big play as Touchstone took the ball out ofFrederick’s hands and dashed six yards to the Wildcat 32.

Several positive runs later by Bulldog fullback Wade Woodcock of22 and 15 yards, the Dawgs appeared to be on the move. But thefumble bug hit the Dawgs again as McNair mishandled the handofffrom senior quarterback Walt Davis.

The Wildcats answered the Bulldog mistake with a 56 yard 8 playdrive capped off by a Frederick seven yard run. After the BrittonTurner PAT the Wildcats ended the first half leading the Dawgs15-3.

After a halftime tune up by the Franklin County High Band, theBulldogs looked ready for a comeback. The Dawgs defense quicklyoverwhelmed the Wildcats with jaw-breaking tackles from juniorlinebacker James Hunt and seniors Jahard Faust and Josh O’Neal.

After the 35 yard punt by Turner the Bulldogs offense hadmisfortune, as center Greg Williams was taken out of the game withan ankle injury. His replacement sophomore Catlyn Wactor, waspushed into the lineup as the Dawgs faced fourth and seven at theirown 10-yard line. The Bulldogs looked to punt, but a mishandledsnap by Zumbro resulted in a Wildcat safety.

After the safety the Wildcats enjoyed a kick return. Thatresulted in a 61 yard Demario Russ touchdown return. After the PATby Turner, the Wildcats led 24-3.

Goff made numerous substitutions on offense as the Wildcatsanswered with outstanding defense, that enabled them to score theirlast touchdown of the night off a Lollis 16-yard scamper.

Searching for answers, Coach Goff quickly sent all of hisseniors, onto the field on offense for one last drive. That seniordrive would last only two downs as Touchstone and Davis playedtrick or treat with the pigskin. The trick resulted in an eightyard run by Touchstone, but was called back due to an illegaljersey on the runner penalty.

Angered by the senior mistake Goff sent in reserves to finishthe game.

One of the reserves, running back Ramsey Brown, produced theDawgs final score of the season off a five yard touchdown scamper.After the Zumbro PAT, the Dawgs ended the game with a tough hardfought loss.

“This was a good victory for us,” said Wildcat head coach JohnMoore after the game. “I’m proud of our effort tonight. We’ve gotto keep it up as we enter the class 3A state playoffs.”

The Dawgs’ seniors gave their last speech in a Bulldog uniformat the 50 yard line, resulting in compliments and grief for nextyear’s class.

“The guys that are coming up next year are going to be a goodbunch,” said Bulldog senior fullback Wade Woodcock. “You’ve got tokeep your heads up and stay in the weight room to reach yourgoals.”

Offensively for the Dawgs, Woodcock led with 63 yards on 9carries.

Frederick led the Wildcats with 86 yards on 9 carries.

On defense, the Dawgs were led by Hunt with 17tackles. Hickingbottom had 14 tackles, Woodcock 11, and Faust andTouchstone with 10 and a sack each.

The Wildcats will enter the heart of class 3A playoff actionFriday night, hosting powerful Division 8-3A runner up GreeneCounty. Game time is set for 7:30.