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Bulldogs get revenge

MEADVILLE – First-year head coach Rickey O’Quinn was chilled andthrilled Friday night by his Franklin County Bulldogs. After histeam destroyed Loyd Star 62-7, O’Quinn was drenched by a cooler ofice water. He was presented the game ball by FCHS athletic directorCharles Moore as his players voiced their approval.

It couldn’t have been much better for O’Quinn or much worse for thevisiting Hornets who were bruised and battered by therevenge-minded Bulldogs. Signs reading, “Remember, LOYD STAR 12,FRANKLIN COUNTY 0,” had served as grim reminder each day in theFranklin County field house. No doubt, last year’s season-openingshutout at Loyd Star had been avenged.

A Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium crowed estimated at 1,500-plus satin humidity-soaked sweat as they witnessed the MHSAA-designatedClassic Game. They watched elusive senior quarterback MiltonGriffin showcase his dazzling speed in a 28-7 first-halfblitz.

O’Quinn, a 2000 FCHS graduate, had been promoted to head coach athis alma mater last winter. A queasy stomach last week, plus lotsof offseason concerns were lifted Friday night.

“I feel good about the first win,” said O’Quinn. “We challenged ourplayers back in February. We had signs up: Loyd Star 12, FranklinCounty 0. That inspired them all year.”

O’Quinn unleashed a stable of running backs and 12 runners pickedup yards. Griffin’s scoring dashes were supported by severalteammates. When freshman running back Chris Robinson broke atackle, reversed his field and scored from 9 yards out, it was 62-7with 2:16 left to play.

Asked about Griffin’s skills, O’Quinn said, “The guy is special.He’s not a Dandy Dozen or listed in the top 125 (by a Jacksonnewspaper) but he’s one of the best players in the state. And he’sbeen doing it for three years.”

Griffin, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound speedster, broke tackles and outranLoyd Star’s secondary. He shared the glory with his offensive line,saying, “Give credit to the offensive line. If it wasn’t for them,I probably wouldn’t get those touchdowns.”

He said the Bulldogs had two goals Friday night. “We wanted to winfor Coach O’Quinn and get revenge for last year. I lot of peoplehad said we wouldn’t do nothing this year but we are going to begood.”

Three Hornet turnovers sparked the Bulldogs to a 21-7,second-quarter lead. A high snap on a fourth down punt on LoydStar’s first possession led to a fumble recovery at the Hornets’2-yard line. Billy Norman crashed over right guard on first downand Coleman Graves connected on his first of six extrapoints.

Jalen Washington set up the second Bulldog TD by blocking KoreyAllen’s punt at Loyd Star’s 13. Griffin rolled to his right anddove across the goal on a 6-yard scoring play to make it14-zip.

The Hornets regrouped and launched a 71-yard scoring drive. Allenhooked up with Marquis Sims on a 31-yard reception to FC’s 1-uyardline. Two plays later, Allen scored on a sneak. Corrie Crow kickedthe extra point and it was 14-7.

The Bulldogs responded with 48 unanswered points. The Hornetswilted in the sauna-like conditions as many players went bothways.

“Turnovers hurt us,” said Loyd Star first-year head coach RandallHuffman. “We got wore out because we had so many people going bothways.”

A fumbled handoff, grabbed in midair by middle linebacker JeremyHunt, was returned 58 yards to the Hornet 3-yard line. Jimmy Barnesscored on the next play and it was 21-7.

The Bulldogs took over at their 8-yard line, following a 45-yardfield goal attempt by Crow. They went 92 yards in eight plays asGriffin bounced off a tackler, stepped to the outside and raced thefinal 32 yards for a 28-7 halftime lead.

Sophomore backup quarterback Jarius Davis got the home crowdcheering on the third play of the second half as he tossed a54-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Parnell Shell. It was35-7.

On the next series, outside linebacker Clarence O’Quinn returned afumble 37 yards for a TD, making it 42-7 with 9:03 left in thethird quarter. A 1-yard sneak by Davis made it 48-7 with 9:29 leftin the game. Troy Norman followed with a 70-yard punt return for aTD.

On defense, Jeramany Washington led the Bulldogs with six tackles.Jimmy Barnes had five tackles.

Loyd Star got six tackles from Josh Butler and five from Allen.