O’Quinn powers FC in jamboree
MEADVILLE — For Jasper O’Quinn, the 2004 Cellular South SpringFootball Jamboree was all that and then some. The junior from Budehighlighted the eight-team parade with six touchdowns and over 100yards passing, dazzling an assortment of coaches, scouts andspectators at Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium.
“I just did my best,” said O’Quinn. “Everybody on our teamplayed well, especially on our offensive line.”
O’Quinn, a 5-11, 174-pound speedster, was making the switch thisspring from running back to quarterback. Last season, O’Quinnrushed for 1,480 yards. In 2002, he starred at receiver anddefensive back.
“Yeah, I was making another switch at a new position,” addedO’Quinn. “I feel I did pretty good today there but still I’ve got aways to go.”
The Bulldogs began the contest, which allowed each team’soffense 15 minutes to score as many points as they could from the45-yard line, before the opposing team touched the field. Franklincollected a hard fought 14-8 victory over the West Jones Mustangsin round one of the gridiron classic.
West Jones finished last season as Class 4A South Staterunner-up to eventual champion Wayne County. The Mustangs allowedO’Quinn to get loose in the air and on the ground with acombination of touch passes to Bulldog wide-out Jonathan Brooks andprecision runs that stunned the Mustangs and on lookers.
“Against West Jones, we started to click,” continued O’Quinn.”They are a good team and beating them was big.”
In game two, the Bulldogs flexed their muscles with aneye-opening 34-6 victory against Region 7-3A rival Amite County.Franklin’s “Dirty Dawg Defense” overpowered the Trojans offenseseveral times with blitzes and hits that silenced the visitors.
“We did really well in the first two games,” said rising Bulldogsenior offensive lineman Kyle Tutor. “Everyone did good on bothsides of the ball for us.”
When game three finally began, the Dawgs were matched up withthe powerful Chiefs from Tylertown. Franklin got ambushed in thecontest by a score of 36-16.
“The heat and being tired after the first two got the best of usin game three,” said Bulldog head coach Anthony Hart. “Right now Iwill say Tylertown is the team to beat in Mississippi South 3A.They have a lot of talent at every position.”
Although his team didn’t go undefeated in the Jamboree, Hart wasimpressed with his club’s improvements. Franklin has used theoff-season to benefit themselves by getting stronger and faster formentally and physically.
“We had a good spring,” added Hart. “Our guys worked hard butstill we have to continue that over the summer and in the fall tobe successful. We have to improve in some more areas, before wekick if off in September.”
AT LAWRENCE COUNTY
With Trent Hammond leaving the Monticello based Cougars,new field general Mike Davis inherited a new and youthful group ofCats. Lawrence County went 2-0 in the jamboree.
“We did really well,” said Davis. “The jamboree gave usa chance to play a lot of our younger players on bothsides.”
The Cougars roared out to a 20-6 decision over the AdamBarron coached North Pike Jaguars before collecting a 19-6 victoryover Wilkinson County. Lawrence County junior running back ChrisJefferson scored in each game.
Cougar quarterback Tavalus Payton threw a touchdown toBen Wall in game one. Payton anchored three scoring drives in gametwo.
“Our kids hustled, and that’s a good thing to see,”added Davis. “We had a good night overall. Franklin County andCoach Hart did an excellent job with the jamboree. They really madeit fun and exciting.”
The jamboree, sponsored by Cellular South, was a welcomesight to many football fans in and around the area. All eight teamsin Franklin, Lawrence, West Jones, Amite County, Wilkinson County,North Pike, Tylertown and South Pike made strides towardimprovement for next season.
“It’s a good thing having one of these so we’ll have anidea on our team and others,” said Hart. “I’m just glad we beat therain, before it set in. I also want to thank everyone and everyteam for their help and participation in this event. It was greatatmosphere and a great day for football.”