Columbia hosts Franklin Co.

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

MEADVILLE – Franklin County football coach Trent Hammond usesone word to describe the Columbia Wildcats and that’s q-u-i-c-k.After studying film of the Columbia team his Bulldogs will face inthe third round of the Mississippi Class 3A State Playoffs Fridaynight at 7, at Columbia.

A ticket to the South State Championship game on the line.Columbia, riding a 5 game winning streak eliminated South Pike lastweek 25-16. Tylertown (10-0) travels to Newton County (11-1) in theother South state semifinals game.

“(Wildcats) are a really good team,” said Hammond. “They arequick all around and they have a big running back (Sidney Riley)that’s getting recruited by a lot of colleges. Some people havetold me they are as fast if not faster than Hazlehurst.”

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The Bulldogs (11-1) beat Hazlehurst last week 35-20, behind 168yards rushing from senior quarterback Jamie Collins, who accountedfor three touchdowns on the ground and one in the air.

Starting on the Bulldog offensive line are Gavin Weathers atcenter, Jace Carlock and Will Clinkscales at guard, DeMeccheryHickingbottom and Preston Shelton at tackle and LaDarrious Hunt attight end.

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

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

Columbia (10-2) coached by Doug Norris, won the Region 8-3Aregular season title despite losing to division rival Purvis 18-14early in the season. The Wildcats carry 20 seniors on theirroster.

“They have been playing some good ball,” said Hammond aboutColumbia. The Wildcats beat Crystal Springs 18-8 in the first roundof the playoffs before dispatching South Pike.

Franklin County enters the game on a 7-game winning streak. TheDawgs are back-to-back 3A South State Champions. They have overcomea rash of injuries to get to this point of the season.

“We’ve been battling some injuries this week in practice,” saidHammond. “Hopefully by Friday night we’ll be healed up a little.We’ve been playing through injuries all season.”

DAWG PRINTS: FCHS last played Columbia in 2006, when both weremembers of Region 7-3A. The Bulldogs won 28-0 at Columbia, and wenton to claim the Class 3A State Championship six weeks later.

Columbia is the hometown of the late Walter Payton, an NFL Hallof Famer, who starred at Columbia, Jackson State, and with theChicago Bears. A memorial statue of Payton sits in front ofColumbia high school.

The Franklin County/Columbia winner will play host to the 3ASouth State Championship next week, against the survivor of theNewton County/Tylertown contest.

The Bulldogs finished second to Tylertown in Region 7-3A thisseason.