Franklin Co. at home; Wesson on road

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Franklin County Bulldogs host the Forest Bearcats in theopening round of the MHSAA Class 3A state football playoffs Fridaynight in Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium in Meadville. FranklinCounty (Region 7 No. 2) knocked off Tylertown 20-14 last Friday tosecure home-field advantage as the No. 2 seed in Region 7.

Forest (Region 5 No. 3) fell to Morton 48-35 last Friday inregion action.

In other first-round playoff action, Class 2A Wesson (Region 6No. 4) is at defending Class 2A state champ Lumberton (Region 8 No.1), Class 3A Raleigh (Region 8 No. 4) is at Hazlehurst (Region 6No. 1), Class 4A McComb (Region 6 No. 4) is at Long Beach (Region 8No. 1) and Class 3A Newton County (Region 5 No. 4 is at South Pike(Region 7 No. 1).

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Bulldogs Know Forest

Franklin County head coach Grady McCluskey knows Forest well.Last season, under former head coach Anthony Hart, Franklin Countywent to Forest and beat the previously unbeaten Bearcats 33-14 inthe second round of the playoffs.

“Forest has 22 seniors back,” said McCluskey. “They doeverything well. They have a real good defensive line. They have agood quarterback. They’re just a well rounded ball club. They runand pass.

“They run a 4-3 on defense,” continued McCluskey. “They havegood defensive tackles. They are really big and fast. The tacklesare about 390 and ends about 290. They are deep on the line. That’stheir strength. We beat them up there last year when they were were12-0. We have our work cut our for us.”

In the win over Tylertown, Preston Griffith led Franklin with 17carries for 76 yards. Quarterback Jonte Marshall carried 11 timesfor 68 yards. Making 5 runs for 52 yards and scoring 2 touchdownswas D.J. Shaw.

On defense, Bulldog linebacker Casey Hammack led the way with 8tackles. Brothers Marcus and Bo Tillman had 6 stops apiece.

Wesson (5-3, 2-3) faces a tough test in thefirst round of the Class 2A when the Region 6 No. 4 ranked Cobrastravel to Lumberton (Region 8 No. 1) to face the unbeaten Panthers(9-0, 6-0).

Lumberton is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 2A PrepPoll. The Panthers have won 19 games in a row.

“Lumberton has a really good football team,” said Wesson headfootball coach Tommy Clopton. “They are not flashy. They play wideopen every snap.

“Obviously, tailback Terry Grant is a great football player,”Clopton noted. “Roshad Henry is a threat to go the distance everytime. They do different things to get him the ball. Jamal Holdersis a good quarterback.

“Lumberton is mainly a running team. They go play action and hityou with the deep ball,” on passing plays.

In last Friday’s win over Seminary, Grant (5-10, 185) rushed thefootball 24 times for 278 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. He hasscored 101 touchdowns going back to the 2001 season. Henry scored 3TDs.

“They (Panthers) line up in a 50 on defense,” added Clopton.”When ball is snapped, they go to the ball. They have great teamspeed.”

Clopton said his Cobras are looking forward to playing the bestteam in the Class 2A.

“It s a great opportunity to play the No. 1 team,” statedClopton. “Whoever wins out the 2A state championship is going tohave to beat Lumberton. It will be a great atmosphere for our kids.A good experience. We need to find a way to win. We look forward tothe trip. A lot of people would like to be in the playoffs.”

Last Friday, Wesson dropped a tough 32-15 decision to Region4-2A rival Hinds AHS. Lumberton shut out No. 2 Seminary 42-0 whichfinished No. 2 in Region 8.

In the loss to Hinds AHS, Otho Smith paced the Wesson runninggame with 15 rushes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback MicahDavis completed 8 of 13 passes for 118 yards and was interceptedtwice.

Defensively, Will Turnbo paced Wesson with 9 tackles. Making 7stops were Phillip Freeman and Bobby Harris.

Hazlehurst, coached by Willie Brown, puts itsundefeated record on the line against Region 8 No. 4 Raleigh (5-4,3-3) in the first-round playoffs. Brown’s Indians (8-0, 6-0) areNo. 1 in Region 6-3A.

Hazlehurst is ranked No. 3 in the AP’s Class 3A Prep Poll.

Last Friday, Hazlehurst shut out Crystal Springs 42-0 whileRaleigh fell to Collins 21-20 in a region matchup.

McComb, coached by Randy Martin, made theplayoffs as the No. 4 team in Region 6-4A. The Tigers (4-5, 3-3)visit Long Beach (Region 8 No. 1) for first-round action.

Last Friday, McComb fell to Region 6 No. 1 Terry 25-22 whileLong Beach (5-1, 4-1) was a 35-6 victor over Pass Christian.

South Pike, coached by Randall Huffman, is theNo. 1 team in Region 7-3A and will host Region 5 No. 4 NewtonCounty at Magnolia in first-round play. Huffman’s Eagles (10-0,6-0) hammered Bailey 34-0 in region action last Friday. South Pikeis ranked No. 1 in the AP Region 3A Prep Poll.

Newton County (6-4, 4-2) is coming off a 42-27 win over ChoctawCentral.