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Bulldogs nip Lawrence County

MEADVILLE – “Big players make bigplays!”

    Fred Coleman may have said it best after his Franklin CountyBulldogs beat Lawrence County 20-18 Friday night. Coleman accountedfor all three touchdowns for the Bulldogs and finished with 235all-purpose yards.

    “This was a big win for us,” said Bulldogs head coach RickeyO’Quinn Jr. “We showed we could win a close game and that means alot to this team.”

    Coleman, the Bulldogs 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior playmaker, linedup everywhere on the field Friday night, playing receiver, runningback, quarterback, returning kicks, plus safety and cornerback.

    “I just did what I had to do,” said Coleman, who caught twotouchdown passes and ran another. “We had to win this one, beforegoing into district play next week. We had to set the tone.”

    The Bulldogs are 4-2 overall and play at Wilkinson County Friday.FCHS has won two straight.

    “Give Franklin County credit. They have a good squad,” saidLawrence County head coach Mike Davis. “It was a knock down, dragout ball game.”

    Davis and his Cougars were playing without the services of sevenstarters due to injuries. His Lawrence County club played a solidgame, despite two costly turnovers in the final seconds of bothhalves, which helped Franklin County prevail.

    The Bulldogs used a Lawrence County fumble in the final 20 secondsto take a 13-7 lead into halftime. FC quarterback Jay Davis hitColeman in the end zone for a leaping 22-yard reception as timeexpired. The grab by Coleman was a highlight reel catch.

    “I had to get that one,” said Coleman smiling.

    Coleman scored the games’ first touchdown on a 2-yard run earlierin the second quarter. The score was set up by 17-yard jaunt bysophomore Chris Robinson, who finished the game with 21 carries for124 yards.

    Lawrence County’s Will Turnage scored on a 9-yard run with 0:56remaining. The Bulldogs blocked the extra point.

    In the second half, Lawrence County cut the deficit to one pointagain with a 15-yard touchdown run from quarterback LaQuanHilliard. The Cougars failed to convert the 2-point conversion.

    With momentum swinging, the Bulldogs scored on third and 25 asDavis hit Coleman for a 77-yard catch-and-run reception. Colemanoutraced several Lawrence County defenders the last 47 yards enroute to the end zone.

    “That was a big play,” said O’Quinn. “We had the punt team readyfor the next down, but instead we scored.”

    Leading 20-12, the Bulldogs still had to stop the Cougars. Led byHilliard, Lawrence County scored with 7:34 left in regulation off a17-yard scamper. The Cougars once again failed to convert thetwo-point conversion, leaving the score 20-18.

    LCHS would get the ball back with less than two minutes remaining,but it was short-lived. Franklin County linebacker C.J. O’Quinnforced a fumble on the Cougars 47-yard line and he recovered withless than 1:00 remaining.

    “We played a good game against a good team,” addedDavis.  “I tip my hat to myyoung guys who stepped in and played for those that were hurt. Theybattled hard and stepped up.”

    Lawrence County will host North Pike this Friday in Monticello. It will be the first Region7-4A game for each.

    As for the Bulldogs, the victory gives the team momentum headinginto Region 7-3A play. FCHS hasn’t won district since 2006.

    “We’ve just got to keep playing hard and stay focused,” saidO’Quinn. “We made some penalties we shouldn’t have made tonightthat we must correct.”

    The Bulldogs got 109 yards passing from Davis, on 3-of-7 attempts.Coleman caught two passes for 99 yards.

    On the ground, Coleman added 10 carries for 69 yards rushing.

    For LCHS, Hilliard had 102 yards rushing on 13 carries. Turnage had58 yards rushing on 12 attempts.

    Defensively, Wesley Lambert led the Cougars with 10 tackles and afield goal deflection.

      For the Bulldogs, Terrance Andersonled with eight tackles. Senior Jimmy Barnes added 7 hits. O’Quinnadded six tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack. Senior JalenWashington also recovered a fumble.