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Tylertown turns back Franklin Co. Bulldogs

TYLERTOWN – Like two heavyweight prize fighters going at it in aring, the Tylertown Chiefs and Franklin County Bulldogs traded blowafter blow until one couldn’t withstand the other Friday night.Tylertown beat the Bulldogs 16-7 in a game mired by second quartercontroversy that clinched the Chiefs their second straight districttitle.

“Basically it was one call by the officials that stood out to meand everybody at the game that really hurt us,” said FC head coachTrent Hammond. He was talking about the officials allowingTylertown five downs to make a first down during a first halfseries.

“That no-call was big. It gave them (Tylertown) momentum afterwe had stopped them short on the original fourth down.”

Tylertown quarterback Jameon Lewis, a cat-quick athlete with 4.3speed in the 40-yard dash, took advantage of the extra play andscored on fourth and short from 16 yards out. Lewis scored twotouchdowns in the contest.

“Controversy is nothing new when us and Franklin County play,”said longtime Tylertown head coach Walter Denton following thegame. “Tonight was another classic battle between us and them. Tworeally good teams battled all night long.”

The battle was played under clock malfunctions for the entirefirst half, with time being kept by the officials on the field. TheChiefs (9-0, 4-0) added a 3-yard touchdown scamper by Lewis in thethird quarter for a 13-0 lead before the Bulldogs regrouped.

“I told Tubby (Lewis’ nickname) that he was the man during thosetwo scoring drives,” added Denton. “He’s some kind of quick. He’sone of the quickest in the state.”

For four quarters Lewis had many Franklin County defenders headsspinning. The human joystick accounted for a game-high 75 yardsrushing on 19 carries. His second touchdown of the night was set upby a blocked punt from the Tylertown defense.

Franklin County (7-3, 3-1) used a 9-play, 55-yard drive to cutinto Tylertown’s lead late in the third period as senior TevinThomas found the end zone from 5 yards out. After a Coleman GravesPAT, the Bulldogs trailed 13-7.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs regained the ball butholding penalties negated any offensive yards gained by the Dawgs.The Chiefs, behind Lewis, rushed down the field to put the game outof reach as Logan Connerly connected on a 16-yard field goal with3:49 remaining.

In a desperation attempt, Franklin County quarterback EdwardMcGhee unleashed several long passes in the final seconds beforebeing intercepted by the Chiefs. Tylertown ran the remainingseconds off the clock to enjoy the victory.

“This one hurts right now, but we’ll bounce back,” said Hammond.”Tonight we just didn’t get one single break. It hurts but we willregroup. Come practice time Sunday. our attention turns toJefferson County.”

The Bulldogs must beat Jefferson County Friday night in order tosecure second place inside the division. Tylertown clinched itssecond straight region title.

“We still have one game left before we start the playoffs,” saidDenton. “Our goal for the entire season has been to go back toJackson.”

Last year Tylertown beat the Bulldogs for the South StateChampionship in Meadville, before losing to Louisville in the 3Atitle game. The Chiefs are currently ranked No. 1 in the state inClass 3A.

“We hung with these boys tonight,” said FC senior All-Statedefensive tackle Bobby O’Quinn. “We’re just as good as they are. Iknow we just lost, but oh do we want another shot at themagain.”

O’Quinn led all tacklers with nine tackles, a forced fumble, anda sack. He also had three quarterback hurries. LaDarrious Hunt andBilly Norman each added six tackles. Thomas had five tackles and asack.

For the Chiefs, Edward Mack had a team-high seven tackles andtwo fumble recoveries. Deon Howard added three tackles, made twopass deflections, and recovered a fumble.