Franklin Co. lands berth in Class 3A state playoffs

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2007

MEADVILLE — Led by an aggressive rushing attack and a standoutdefense, the Class 3A defending state champion Franklin CountyBulldogs cashed in a playoff ticket to the 3A dance with a dominant34-14 Friday night victory over the Amite County Trojans.

“I’m proud of my guys,” said FC head coach Grady McCluskey. “Wewon four straight, after losing two district games early. I’m proudof my guys for not folding and staying with it.”

The Bulldogs (8-2, 4-2) will travel to Region 8-3A runner-upSumrall Friday night. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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“I’m glad we are in there (playoffs), ” added McCluskey. “A lot ofpeople didn’t want us in there, but we’re in.”

FC junior cornerback Alex Smith made sure of that from the get-go,as he took an interception back 47-yards for a quick 7-0 Bulldoglead.

Moments later in the second quarter, the Bulldogs struck again asJordan Hunt hit paydirt from 6-yards out. FC junior kicker JaceCarlock added the PAT, for the 14-0 FC lead.

Amite County (5-5, 2-4) scored late in the second quarter, as TreyBeteaste got loose for a 18-yard TD burst. QB Anthony Cainconnected with Beteaste for the two-point conversion, to cut thedeficit to 14-8.

Franklin County looked to their Hunt Connection again beforehalftime, as sophomore fullback Alan Hunt scored from 3-yards on arun up the middle.

“Tonight was the night to go beast mode,” said a sweat soaked AlanHunt after the game. “I just did what I had to do.”

Alan Hunt, who teammates call Frank, scored his second touchdown ofthe night in the third period from 7-yards out to give FC acommanding 27-8 lead.

Jamie Collins, the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior QB. wouldadd the last points of the night with his rifle arm, as he hitJordan from 21-yards out for the clinching score.

Amite County scored late off a Cain pass to Alexander Cobb as thebuzzer sounded for the final margin.

“We’re still making too many penalties and having too manyturnovers,” said McCluskey. “Still, I’m glad we won, and proud ofmy team.”

The Bulldogs will attempt to become the first Class 3A team sinceAmory in the mid 1990’s and Collins five years ago, to repeat as 3Achampions.

“It’s a hard task,” said McCluskey. “Everyone is 0 and 0 now. It’sa new season.”

FC senior defensive end Josh Tillman led all hitters with 12tackles and a sack. Alex Smith had two interceptions. Darnell Forddeflected two passes and picked off one. A 6-6, 300-pound seniordefensive tackle, Bo Tillman, had 6 tackles and a fumblerecovery.

“We made plays tonight,” said McCluskey. “That’s something we’vegot to keep doing and limit our mistakes.”