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Bulldogs crush Wesson to secure playoff spot

DAILY LEADER / TRACY FISCHER / Wesson running back Otis Smith (34) plows through Franklin County's defense as teammates Justin Boone (66) and Chase Twiner (76) hold off FCHS defender Darrin Wiley (3) Friday night.

DAILY LEADER / TRACY FISCHER / Wesson running back Otis Smith (34) plows through Franklin County’s defense as teammates Justin Boone (66) and Chase Twiner (76) hold off FCHS defender Darrin Wiley (3) Friday night.

WESSON – The Wesson Cobras witnessed a strong and talented Franklin County football team Friday night as senior running back Chris Robinson used his shifty running style and breakaway speed to spark the Bulldogs to 34-6 district win over the Cobras Friday night at H.L. Stone Stadium.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound speedster continues to make his name known in the Bulldogs’ history books among names like Bobby Lee Hunt, Jasper O’Quinn, and Ronnell McDaniel as one of the best tailbacks to ever don a Franklin County uniform.

Robinson’s nimble feet scored on touchdown runs of 44, 35, and 18 yards in a highlight reel of big plays that gave many a glimpse of his speed. He also provided some big hits on defense to help keep Wesson in check as the Bulldogs secured a playoff berth into next month’s 3A South State Playoffs.

In the first quarter, the Cobras gained only 13 rushing yards in their first possession of the contest before punting on fourth down. The Bulldogs bit the Cobra defense on their opening drive when Robinson scored on a 44-yard dash and a successful extra point put the Bulldogs ahead 7-0.

The Cobras attempted to strike back by working the ball down the field with four first downs to get within field goal range. Senior kicker C.J. Viramontez’s field goal attempt was blocked by the Bulldogs, and senior Jerry Hannon recovered the ball and ran the ball 80 yards to the end zone for the touchdown.

After an unsuccessful offensive attempt by the Cobras, Robinson scored again to secure a 22-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Wesson marched their offense down to red zone with several successful plays by senior Otis Smith and juniors Tyler Christmas and Michael Hauer. Junior Farrod Green received a 10-yard pass, but the Cobras were unable to get within scoring range.

The Bulldogs controlled the ball, gaining 26 rushing yards and 17 passing yards to get within field goal range but were unsuccessful at the attempt. Cobra leading rushers, Smith, Hauer, and Christmas, worked the ball in Bulldog’s territory but fell short of the first down with a incomplete pass to Green as time expires in the first half with Franklin County leading 22-0 at halftime.

In the second half, the Bulldogs continued their momentum in the third quarter with senior fullback Darin Wiley scoring a touchdown on an 11-yard run. The talented Wiley continued his solid play on both sides of the ball by aiding in a block punt on defense and collecting a game-high nine tackles.

The Cobras attempted to rush the ball again but turned the ball over to the Bulldogs on their own 35-yard line after an unsuccessful fake punt attempt to gain yardage. Robinson cashed in his third touchdown of the night for the Bulldogs on the next play to increase the FCHS lead.

The Cobras rallied to earn yardage with four first downs as junior Dartavious Dixon gained 22 yards on a completed pass but lost any chance of scoring when Bulldog junior Michael White intercepted the ball on the edge of the end zone to take over possession of the ball at the end of the third quarter.

The Bulldogs owned the ball most of the fourth quarter, but the Cobras were able to gain possession of the ball when junior Blake Burns recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs’ 31-yard line. Wesson’s Otis Smith kept the Cobras from getting shutout with a five-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The Cobras had scoring chances early in the game, but the Bulldogs halted each drive.

“Although the scoreboard didn’t show it, we fought till the very end, said senior running back Otis Smith. “It’s been a very tough season for us but we all have to go through some type of adversity at some point in our lives.”

Offensively, Robinson’s lightning speed that made the difference. He rushed for 135 yards on seven carries.l

Otis Smith paced the Cobras with 18 rushes for 50 yards. Michael Hauer had nine carries for 69 yards.

Christmas directed the passing game for Wesson completing 6-of-10 passing for 41 yards.

Defensively, Corneius Barlow were the top hitters for the Cobras with three tackles.

Coached by Chris Calcote, the Bulldogs have won two straight. FC can finish third in the powerful Region 7-3A with a win at Jefferson County. The Cobras travel to Woodville to face the Wilkinson County Wildcats Friday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.