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Collins steps up for Franklin Co.

HAZLEHURST – When the Franklin County Bulldogs needed an answer,Jamie Collins provided it in a big way Friday night, scoring threetouchdowns on the ground and one in the air to lead the Bulldogspast the Hazlehurst Indians 35-20 in a muddy second round battle ofthe Class 3A titans.

The Bulldogs (11-1) will play at Columbia in the third round ofthe playoffs Friday night. Columbia beat South Pike 25-16.

“We knew Hazlehurst was a scrappy team and we had to step up,”said a sweat soaked Collins following the game. “I just did what Ihad to do for us to win tonight. It feels good to be movingon.”

Collins, the Bulldogs 6-5, 215 pound senior quarterback rushedfor a game high 168 yards on 16 carries. At safety he made threetackles and recovered a fumble.

“Jamie Collins is a great athlete,” said Hazlehurst coach ToddMcDaniel. “He made some big time plays tonight.”

McDaniel in his first year at the helm of the Indians (8-3)watched his team give Franklin County fits the entire night. TheIndians took an early 8-0 lead off a Cornelius Crump 49 yardtouchdown run. Moments later Ronald Fair added the conversionrun.

Franklin County answered as Collins reeled off a 14-yardtouchdown scamper and a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior receiverJarvis King to give FC a 14-8 advantage after one quarter ofplay.

Indians senior running back Fred Fuller kept Hazlehurst in themix, scoring on a dazzling 80 yard run by cutting through tacklesand the FC secondary en route to tying the game at 14 all, in thethird quarter

Fuller finished with 149 yards and 10 carries.

Collins, an Auburn commitment gave Franklin County the momentumback late in the third period by scoring from 45 yards outuntouched on a keeper to give FCHS a 21-14 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Indians mounted a rally by scoring on4th and 6, as senior QB Justin Durr connected with Fred Fuller on a52-yard touchdown pass. Hazlehurst missed the conversion attempt,as Durr’s pass fell incomplete to give FC a 21-20 edge.

“Our kids kept their heads on that extra point,” said FC headcoach Trent Hammond. “Hazlehurst is an extremely fast team, but onthat play (conversion attempt) you could see them deflate a littlebit. Our defense stepped up.”

The Bulldogs used a 20-yard touchdown by Collins and a JaceCarlock extra-point kick to take a 28-20 lead with 9:11 to go inthe game.

Hazlehurst attempted one last comeback attempt, but a key 4thand 15 pass by Durr sailed into FC junior linebacker Frank Hunt’smitts to end the Indians hopes. Franklin County took over with 1:21remaining, and senior running back Alex Smith quickly put thefinishing touches on the hard fought win with a 50-yard touchdownscamper to start the celebration on the FC sidelines.

Smith, a USM commitment, finished with 80 yards on sixcarries.

“My hat is off to our guys,” added Hammond. “We beat a goodfootball team tonight but we’ve got to stay focused and move on andstart preparing for our next opponent in Columbia now.”

On defense, Franklin County was led by junior defensive tackleBobby O’Quinn with six tackles and a sack.

“We kept hitting them,” said a sweat soaked O’Quinn after thegame. “We want to go back to Jackson and play for the StateChampionship. That’s the bottom line.”

Jordan Hunt and Tevin Thomas added five tackles. Juniorcornerback DeHendret Collins made four tackles, broke up twopasses, and made an interception.

For Hazlehurst, Kristorpher Williams led all hitters with eighttackles and a sack. Leviticus Cain and Dondrego Martin added sixtackles. Gabriel Gary made an interception.