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Hannon collects nine tackles, two fumble recoveries

MEADVILLE – Outside linebacker Jerry Hannon played one of the best games of his young football career Friday night. Franklin County’s outside linebacker accounted for nine tackles and two fumble recoveries in Franklin County’s big 48-0 shutout of  Amite County at Liberty.

     Hannon’s efforts have earned him The DAILY LEADER’s Defensive Player of the Week accolades. He is a 6-foot, 195-pound junior.

     The Bulldogs (3-2) snapped a 2-game losing streak with the win at Amite County. After falling to Tylertown and Clarksdale, it was just what the team needed.

     Franklin County head coach Rickey O’Quinn said Hannon has all the tools to be an outstanding linebacker. “Jerry is a tough, hard-nosed kid and he’s very instinctive. He has a nose for the ball. He’s always going full speed.”

     Hannon said the Bulldogs are bent on securing the Region 7-3A championship. They were runners-up to Hazlehurst last season. They posted a 9-4 record and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.

     “We are going to win district,” Hannon predicted. “To be honest, we have the No. 1 defense out there.”

     He said beating Amite County was the right tonic for his team. “We came out mentally prepared. We wanted to end that 2-game losing streak.”

     Longtime FCHS assistant Tony Gibbs serves as defensive coordinator.

     “I like playing for Coach O’Quinn,” said Hannon. “Win or lose, he’s still going to be a coach. He ain’t going to down you.”

     Hannon, who wears No. 17, is the son of Randi and Jerry Malone. He has been playing linebacker since the seventh grade. His cousin, Trey Hannon, is a nose guard and fullback for the Bulldogs.

     Asked about his responsibilities at linebacker, Hannon said, “It’s a lot of fun. You get a lot of contact.”

     When the opposing offense comes to the line of scrimmage, Hannon said, “You have to key on the line. You look for the pitch. You have to turn it inside.”

     Hannon is a strong Christian who plays hard and prays hard. He faithfully reads his Bible and attends church.

     After the football season, Hannon stays busy. He plays basketball for Chris Jordan. In the spring, he runs the distance events for the FCHS track team: the 2-mile, 1-mile, half-mile, 800-meter, 200-meter and relays.

     His favorite college football team is Southern Miss. Like his teammates, they closely follow the exploits of USM senior defensive end Jamie Collins, an FCHS graduate who is projected as an All-American and an NFL draft pick.

     In the meantime, Hannon wants to help the Bulldogs make a strong run in the state playoffs. His latest assignment is preparing for Friday’s home game against the Lawrence County Cougars.