Knights shut out Franklin Co. Bulldogs

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

MEADVILLE — The West Lauderdale Knights’ upset tour of theClass 3A playoffs kept rolling Friday night as the they collected a7-0 shocker at Franklin County to end the Bulldogs’ season. WestLauderdale will face Senatobia Saturday in the Class 3AChampionship in Jackson’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium,beginning at 3 p.m..

“They just came out and stopped us,” said a disheartenedFranklin County field general Anthony Hart after the game. “We madesome plays, but we couldn’t get it in the end zone.”

Hart watched his 12-2 Bulldogs claw and scratch the Knights ofWest Lauderdale (11-3) to a scoreless, first quarter deadlock,until the dramatic happened in the second frame.

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Led by a potent offensive combination of, run the ball first andpass it second, West Lauderdale hit paydirt from five yards out inthe second quarter as sophomore quarterback Austin Davis connectedwith a wide-open Damone Baylor with 4:14 to go. After a DemetriceUri extra point kick, the Knights held command.

“Our guys just came out and did what they had to do,” said WestLauderdale head coach Stan McCain. “We played hard the entirenight.”

Playing hard and hitting hard were how the Knights overwhelmedthe Bulldogs. West Lauderdale let Franklin make the mistakes andthey capitalized.

“We just hung in there,” added McCain. “Over the last threeweeks we’ve been playing games like this one. Right now we’re oncloud nine!”

McCain’s stingy and sound-popping defense shut down Franklin’saggressive and speedy running attack with behind- the-line hits andsacks. Franklin’s closest opportunity of scoring came early in thesecond quarter when senior running back Deandrea Cameron scoredfrom 15 yards out off a tackle- breaking run. The play was calledback and penalized 10-yards due to holding penalty.

After that Franklin never regrouped. The Bulldogs were held to80 yards total offense.

“It hurt us when we got that penalty in the red-zone,” addedHart. “Give West Lauderdale credit. They are a really good footballteam. They played us hard.”

The Bulldogs missed a field goal in the first quarter, whileWest Lauderdale missed chip-shot chances in the second and fourthperiods. Franklin got one last shot at tying the game late in thefourth quarter, when Bulldog sophomore linebacker Gary Rogerssacked Davis on a key fourth and goal play at the Franklin 12-yardline.

Sensing energy and a momentum turn, the Bulldogs quicklyattempted two passing plays to get something going. On a pivotalsecond down, Franklin quarterback Jasper O’Quinn found senior wideout Jonathan Brooks near the sidelines for a seven-yard gain. Aftera third down stop, the Bulldogs were forced to go for it with a1:48 remaining.

“That fourth down play was big,” said McCain. “That play couldof change things.”

On fourth and three, the Bulldogs took to the air as O’Quinnfound a streaking Brooks cross the middle. The pass was in Brook’sgrasp for half a second when two West Lauderdale linebackersdislodged Brooks away from the ball, thus causing the play to beruled incomplete.

“Our defense never backed down,” continued McCain. “I’m proud ofthem and all my kids for that.”

With the win, McCain and the Knights find themselves in theirfirst ever Class 3A football championship. The Knights haven’t beenthis far in their history.

“It feels good,” added McCain. “Moments like these don’t comealong too often.”

The Knights got 115 rushing yards from Baylor on 24 carries.Davis complete 5-of-11 passes for 53 yards.

For the Bulldogs, Cameron led Franklin with 57 yards rushing on19 carries. O’Quinn was held to a total of zero yards.

Defensively, Franklin got a team-leading sixtackles and a sack from Rogers. Junior safety Marvin Bridges addedfive hits and recovered a fumble, while senior defensive endDeAndre Davis added four hits and a sack.

Leading West Lauderdale on defense was Judd Godwin with sixtackles, a sack, and a pass deflection.