McCluskey sees room to improve

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 11, 2007

MEADVILLE – As the 2007 Cellular South Spring football jamboreewent, so did the rebuilding projects of the South Pike Eagles andFranklin County Bulldogs. South Pike coached by Randall Huffmanfocused on its offense, especially at wide out where it mustreplace graduating seniors Derrick Ross and Brinson Johnson.

For the Bulldogs a reloading process began with a new lookoffensive line and secondary. FC, the defending Class 3A statechampions flexed their muscles against Lawrence County, WilkinsonCounty, and South Pike in each 60-minute contest.

“We did about like we thought we would,” said FC Bulldogs headcoach Grady McCluskey. “Our offensive line has to improve, andwe’ve got to do better running the ball.”

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Assistant coaches from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and SouthernMiss., carefully pinpointed the movements of Tillman cousins Bo andAljoshua of Franklin High. Bo, a 6-6, 300-pound rising seniordefensive tackle and Aljoshua, a 6-4, 255-pound defensive end keptthe opposing offensive sides honest with big hits and tackles. Bothare rated as two nation’s top defensive linemen.

As for the Cougars, Lawrence County also took steps toward arebuilding movement with a powerful running game and defense thatimpressed. The 4A Cougars loss to the Bulldogs to a 12-6 tie in thefirst game of the scrimmage session, as FC rising juniorquarterback Jamie Collins hooked up with wideout Ryne Tutor for aTD.

Tutor, who also doubles as the Bulldogs backup QB also threw astrike to Bo Tillman for a score.

“It was a good time for all the teams involved,” added McCluskey.”South Pike looked good, they are going to be tough.”

Lawrence County beat Wilkinson County 6-0, while South Pike and theBulldogs fought to a 6-6 tie.

The Bulldogs beat the Eagles 20-14 in overtime last year inMagnolia. FC went 14-1 last season.

“Every team has a lot of work left to do,” said McCluskey. “We’vegot a long summer ahead ourselves.”

The 2007 regular season kicks off August 31.