Bulldogs maul S. Pike

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 22, 2007

MEADVILLE — As statements go, the Franklin County Bulldogs madea big one Friday night.

The Bulldogs hung 42-points on South Pike and won 42-8 in frontof a jam-packed crowd of 2,200 in Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium.Franklin County got touchdowns from Jamie Collins, Alex Smith,Darnell Ford, and Alan Hunt enroute to the victory, which put theBulldogs back near the top of Class 3A front runners for the 2007prize.

“They whipped our butts and made us like it,” said South Pikehead coach Randall Huffman about the Bulldogs dominatingperformance. “That’s all we can say. They beat us.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Franklin County (6-2, 2-2) now moves into a tie for second placewith Tylertown. Amite County beat Tylertown 14-0 Friday night.South Pike and Jefferson County are currently deadlocked for firstplace in Region 7-3A. Two weeks remain in the regular season.

FC quarterback Jamie Collins made sure the Bulldogs would not bedenied Friday night. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior scored thegame’s first two touchdowns off runs of 1 and 33-yardsrespectfully, to give FC an early advantage that they neverrelinquished. Collins finished the game with 103 yards on 12carries. He also completed a pass for 16 yards to junior teammateJordan Hunt.

“We came out and played our game,” said Collins, a Quentinnative. “We knew this was a big game and we had to show everyonethem other games we lost was just a miscount.”

Like lightning, the Bulldogs blew fuses on the scoreboard withback-to-back touchdown runs by Darnell Ford of 10-yards each andlater a 29-yard TD scamper by junior running back Alex Smith.

Smith, a McCall Creek native, finished with a game-high 120yards rushing on 18 carries.

Sophomore fullback Alan Hunt would add the final touches, whichincluded a tackle-breaking 23-yard slicer for a touchdown in thefourth period. Junior kicker Jace Carlock connected on all six PATattempts.

“People don’t realize that we have 10 seniors and 10 juniors,”said Bulldogs head coach Grady McCluskey, who has also reliedheavily on his underclassmen this season since winning the 3AChampionship last year. “We put the state championship highlightDVD on before the game and let them watch. We told them some of youguys are the same ones who made those plays, but now you’recomplacent. I wanted to see them put it all on the line and playlike they’re capable of.”

McCluskey and his assistant coaches in David Tadlock, TonyGibbs, Brent Calcote, Rickey O’Quinn, and Jeremy Loy saw just whattheir team was capable of. The FC defense held South Pike to a mereone-yard rushing in the first half and 6-6, 300-pound seniordefensive tackle Bo Tillman accounted for many of the stops.Tillman caught several Eagles from behind and in front with agame-high 10 tackles. He also deflected a punt, caused a fumble,and made a sack, his 10th of the season

“We picked up our game tonight,” said Tillman about the FCdefense. “We came out and did our thing.”

The head-hunting crew powered by Tillman didn’t stop there. AlexSmith came up with an interception to stop a South Pike drive inthe third quarter. Alan Hunt blocked a punt. Josh Tillman and VanStarks recovered fumbles.

“Our defense did its job and our offense did its job,” saidsenior defensive end Josh Tillman. “We all worked together and wonbig.”

South Pike scored their only touchdown late in the fourthquarter, when QB Tevin Martin ran 8-yards for a TD on the FCsecond-string defense. The Eagles would add a safety momentslater.

“We had our chances in the first half, but we couldn’t completeplays,” said Huffman. “We’ve just got to get back to work now.Start preparing for the next game (Tylertown).”

Franklin County will next travel to Wilkinson County Fridaynight for a district meeting in Woodville. The Bulldogs must winthe next two games in order to make the playoffs.

“We know what we’ve got to do,” said Collins after the game.”We’re mad now, so let it be known.”