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Bulldogs invade Hazlehurst

MEADVILLE – Two old division rivals clash in the second round ofthe Class 3A State Football Playoffs Friday night in Copiah Countyas two-time defending 3A South State Champion Franklin CountyBulldogs pay a visit to a high octane Hazlehurst squad.

The Indians (8-2) beat Purvis last week 60-20 in first roundaction. Hazlehurst senior running back Fred Fuller accounted forthree touchdowns and 100 yards rushing in the victory. The Indiansare averaging 50 points per game in their last eight games.

Franklin County has allowed 8.9 ppg this season.

Coached by Todd McDaniel, Hazlehurst has won eight straight. TheIndians dropped opening season game at Franklin County 21-6 andagainst Vicksburg 17-7, before claiming the Region 6-3A regularseason championship.

“Our focus is now on them (Hazlehurst),” said Franklin Countyhead coach Trent Hammond, after his Bulldogs’ 38-7 victory over SELauderdale. Hammond and McDaniel have been reviewing film on eachother’s teams since last week.

“I hate playing somebody twice, especially since you won thefirst one,” said Hammond. “Hazlehurst is big and fast. They havethe entire package.”

The Bulldogs (10-1) used two 100-yard plus performances byseniors Alex Smith and Damien Burnett to ease past SoutheastLauderdale last week. Smith finished with a game-high 106 yards andtwo touchdowns on nine carries. Burnett had 102 yards and a scoreon eight attempts.

“We’ve got to come ready,” said FC starting center GavinWeathers. “Our goals are to go back to Jackson,” meaning the 3Astate championship game.

Franklin County beat Hazlehurst earlier this season and has wonthe last three meetings, including a 23-6 decision over the Indiansin the 2006 Class 3A South State Championship in Meadville. TheIndians won the state title in 2005 and the Bulldogs won it all in2006.

Hazlehurst’s last win came against the Bulldogs in 2004, whenboth teams were district rivals.

Defensively the Bulldogs held SE Lauderdale to under 150 yardsof total offense last week. Junior defensive tackle Bobby O’Quinnled the Dawgs with 15 hits and a sack.

FC standout Jamie Collins, had two interceptions from his safetyposition in the win. Collins was named to Mississippi/AlabamaAll-Star game roster last week as a quarterback/safety.