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O’Quinn steps up in playoffs

MEADVILLE – Stepping it up a notch, Franklin County defensivenose guard Bobby O’Quinn accounted for 15 tackles and a quarterbacksack in the Bulldogs’ victory over Southeast Lauderdale in theopening round of the Class 3A state playoffs last week.

O’Quinn’s efforts have earned him The DAILY LEADER’s DefensivePlayer of the Week honors. Quinn is 5-foot-11 and weighs 280pounds.

O’Quinn and the Bulldogs travel to Hazlehurst Friday night tosquare off against the Indians in the second round of the statetourney. In the opening game of the season, the Bulldogs beat theIndians 21-6.

FCHS first-year head coach Trent Hammond said O’Quinn had tolearn a new defensive alignment after starting the previous seasonup front. Hammond made several new hires, including defensivecoordinator Adam Barron.

“Once Bobby figured out our new defensive scheme, he reallybecame effective,” said Hammond. “He has learned how to play theposition. As it got later in the year, he got in better shape andhas become a good football player.”

Superior strength is one of O’Quinn’s assets. In theweightlifting room, he bench presses 330 pounds and squats with530.

“Bobby is one of the strongest kids we have on our team,” saidHammond. “He’s extremely quick off the football. His first twosteps are really quick. He plays hard every down.”

O’Quinn said he wasn’t surprised by his performance againstSoutheast Lauderdale in the opening round of the state playoffs.The tradition-rich Bulldogs made it all the way to the Class 3Astate title game in 2007 after winning the championship in2006.

“It was a big game so it makes you want to play at the nextlevel,” said O’Quinn. He said Southeast Lauderdale tried to runbetween the tackles unsuccessfully so the Tigers moved outside theends.

“They started inside and then they bounced to the outside,” saidO’Quinn. “I was chasing the play and then they turned inside so Icaught them.”

At Franklin County, football is a favorite pastime. Thecommunity provides plenty of support for the gridiron Bulldogs.

“Everybody is pumped up,” said O’Quinn. “Everybody is steppingup. They want to win it this year.”

The Bulldogs are preparing for an outstanding Hazlehurst squadthat is under the direction of former Hazlehurst standout ToddMcDaniel.

“Hazlehurst is pretty good,” said O’Quinn. “We have to play ourbest against them.”

Ricky O’Quinn is Bobby’s cousin and coaches the Franklin Countywide receivers.

Asked about his switch from defensive tackle to nose guard underthe new defensive scheme installed by Coach Barron, O’Quinn said,”We use three down lineman instead of four like last year. I loveplaying nose guard. It’s great. I can see everything and I can readleft or right.

“We are doing great on defense and we have new people,” saidO’Quinn. “I try to be a leader for us.”

Joining O’Quinn on the defensive front are the Covington twins,Brad and Brian. At linebacker are Frank Hunt, Ladarius Hunt, JordanHunt, Tevin Thomas and Carl Johnson. In the secondary are DehendritCollins, Damien Burnett and Jamie Collins.

“I enjoy playing for Coach Hammond,” said O’Quinn. “I’m gettingused to them.”

Barron and Coach Mike Goff work with the defensive line.

O’Quinn said his favorite college team is West Virginia, becausehis uncle, D.J. Shaw, is a junior defensive tackle for theMountaineers. Shaw played two years at Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege before moving to West Virginia.

On Sundays, O’Quinn enjoys watching the Tennessee Titans. Hisfavorite NFL player is

veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney of the IndianapolisColts.