Bulldogs win over Loyd Star

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 16, 2002

For Franklin County head coach Anthony Hart said this was justanother game. All the talk about his return to W.E. “Sambo” SmithField and a matchup against his former team had been circled for awhile on most gridiron calendars.

But for Hart it was just another win for his Bulldogs. It gavethem a 3-0 start and a 35-7 victory over rival Loyd Star. It wasthe first win for Franklin County over Loyd Star after threeprevious meetings.

“I’m glad this game is over,” said Hart. “This was a good winfor our team but we still have a long ways to go. Overall I wasequally impressed by how Loyd Star came out and played us and howwe as a team raised it up a notch.”

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Hart served on the Hornet coaching staff for three years, thelast two as head coach, leading them to the Class 2A South Statechampionship game and an 11-2 record last year. Hart became thefocal point when he left the Hornets in March to take over a solidFranklin County squad. His presence on the other side of the fieldwas different but welcomed as he and his Dawgs took care ofbusiness.

“This one was for coach,” said Bulldog nose guard Hardy Fox. “Wepracticed hard this week. Coach talked about it being just anothergame. But we as a team knew we had to win this one for him. We alsoknew that we had to break their streak against us. And we did bothtonight.”

Fox’s strong comments, were just part of a statement he and therest of the Bulldog team wanted to send to the Hornets. Franklin’sstrong and physical defense made their presence felt with a blendof power, speed, and bone rattling hits, that kept the Hornets(0-3) under 150 yards total offense. Loyd Star finished with 50yards passing and 98 rushing.

Loyd Star’s winless start is the school’s worst in nearly 20years, while Franklin’s unblemished record is the best in nineyears. Both teams have yet to start region play.

“This was a big win,” said Bulldog quarterback Colby Beach. “Wewent out and played hard this game. Our offense and defense didwell, after a sluggish first quarter.”

Beach jump-started the Bulldogs offense in the second quarter,when he took a keeper around the right side for 53 yards topaydirt. After a Chris Blackwell PAT, the Dawgs held 7-0 advantagewith 9:54 left in the first half.

Less than a minute later, the Bulldogs added two points off asafety for a 9-0 lead. Franklin continued that trend, three minuteslater with a 28-yard touchdown strike from Beach to sophomore widereceiver Jasper O’Quinn. O’Quinn’s grab and a Blackwell PAT gavethe Dawgs a 16-0 edge.

From there, the Dawgs added yet another score with 36 secondsremaining. Loyd Star punter Justin Whatley tried to kick anover-snapped ball out of the endzone for a safety.

Instead, the ball stopped a yard shy. Bulldog senior defensiveend Donald Ray Smith jumped on it for a TD and a 22-0 halftimeadvantage.

“Franklin made the big plays in the second quarter,” said LoydStar coach Sidney Wheatley. “We hung with them in the early goinguntil Beach broke it open with his run. From there everything wentdown hill.”

After the half, the Dawgs picked up where they left off with a72-yard pass from Beach to senior wide receiver Byron Brooks for atouchdown. After a failed two-point conversion run, the Dawgs led28-0.

Franklin added their last score at the 2:45 mark of the thirdperiod off a Jon (Skeet) Hickingbottom 42-yard, tackle slicer.Blackwell added the PAT kick which gave the Dawgs a 35-0 lead.

“We started putting in some of our young guys in the fourthquarter,” said Hart. “It gave them a chance to get some valuableplaying time.”

The Hornets capitalized on a reserve-laden Bulldog defense witha Josh Townsend 3-yard plunge. Loyd Star added a Jody Britt PATkick for a 35-7 deficit.

After a failed onsides kick by the Hornets, the Bulldogs ran theclock out. They drenched Coach Hart with an ice cold bath ofPowerade.

“Our kids played hard tonight, and we’ll have to continue thatfor Wesson next week.”

Franklin hosts Wesson (2-1) next week, while Loyd Star travelsto Bassfield (1-2).

“Our kids are playing hard,” said Wheatley. “The more we play,the better we’ll be. We’ve just got to stop making mistakes. Wemust keep playing strong and good things will


On offense, the Hornets were led by junior fullback MatthewDelaughter with seven carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.Townsend finished with seven carries for 34 yards.

The Bulldogs where paced by Beach with 4 of 6 passing for 100yards and two touchdowns through the air. He added seven carriesfor 63 yards and a score on the ground.

Cecil Kenzie finished with 11 carries for 70 yards, whileHickingbottom had four carries for 54.

On defense, the Dawgs where led by seniordefensive tackle Jason Wyatt with 10 tackles and two deflections.Donald Ray Smith finished with nine tackles, a fumble recovery,

and a deflection. DeAndre’ Davis had eight tackles and a sack.Jasper O’Quinn, Hardy Fox, and Tyson Windom each finished withseven tackles. O’Quinn gathered an interception, while Windom hadthree deflections.

For Loyd Star, Unquire Smith and Daniel Sisco finished withseven tackles and a fumble recovery. Josh Reed added six tackles, adeflection, and an interception.