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Tylertown escapes Franklin Bulldogs

MEADVILLE – For a moment the Franklin County Bulldogs thoughtthey had Tylertown right where they wanted them. Then the Chiefsshocked the Dawgs like they always seem to do in the end with afourth quarter comeback that gave Tylertown its fifth victory infour years over Franklin County with a dramatic 15-14 win.

The victory assures Tylertown (8-2, 4-0) the Region 7-3A crown fora third straight year. Franklin County (4-6, 2-2) must beatJefferson County (4-4, 1-3) Friday night to make the playoffs, orhope the Chiefs beat Wilkinson County in Woodville.

“Basically it’s like this; we win and we’re in, the way I see it,”said Franklin County first-year head coach Rickey O’Quinn. “We’vejust got to win next week.”

The Bulldogs spotted Tylertown a 9-0 lead heading intointermission, off a second quarter safety and a 2-yard score fromquarterback Ashton Ellezy. The Chiefs, coached by Walter Denton,are the reigning 3A State Champions, and played like it in thefirst half.

“They came at us in the second quarter but we came back swinging atthem in the second half,” added O’Quinn. “I’m proud of my team. Wenever gave up.”

Franklin County scored in the first minute of the third frame off a54-yard strike from quarterback Jay Davis to receiver CalvinRobinson. After kicker Coleman Graves booted the extra point, theDawgs trailed 9-7.

Milton Griffin, the Bulldogs’ senior spark plug, would add severalbig plays in the fourth quarter that set up a 1-yard plunge byjunior fullback Jimmy Barnes to give FCHS a 14-9 lead with 8:27remaining.

Facing third and 27 at their own 25-yard line, Tylertown made adesperation attempt to win the game and it worked as Ellezy hit awide-open LaDarrius Slocum for a 66-yard reception that setup a9-yard TD run by Ellezy on the next play.

The Chiefs failed to convert the extra point for the final marginbut the Bulldogs turned the ball over in the remainingseconds.

“This is a big win for Tylertown,” said Denton afterwards. TheChiefs are one of the favorites in South 3A along with Philadelphiaand Forest.

Hazlehurst’s 37-26 victory over Jefferson County Friday night gavethe Indians the two spot in the division. Wilkinson County,Jefferson County, and Franklin County still control their owndestiny in the race for the final two playoff spots.

“We’re still in this thing,” said O’Quinn. “We played with one ofthe best teams in 3A tonight and had the game won. We know what wehave to do.”