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Franklin, Wilkinson County set for district matchup

When Franklin County High School and Wilkinson County High School play each other, a lot is usually riding on the outcome of the game. Whether that’s the case this season remains to be seen, but it is a rivalry game regardless of the records.

This year’s matchup is not only the MHSAA Region 7-3A opener for both teams, but it is also Wilkinson County’s homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

Wilkinson County (2-3) is coming off a big road win over defending Class 3A state champion Kemper County, 15-8. The win has made practices more positive for the Wildcats, head coach Kenneth Brown said.

“So far, everything has been pretty good. The kids have been upbeat. I guess a win helps — plus it’s homecoming,” Brown said. “The kids have been in the right frame of mind, and hopefully they’ll put us in a position to win Friday night. We haven’t had any distractions thus far, but there are still a couple of days to go.”

While the two teams are not playing each other at the end of the season like they used to when playoff berths, playoff seeding or occasionally the region title were on the line, Brown said plenty is still at stake for both teams.

“Both (of us are) fighting for a district championship. It gives each team an opportunity to see what we have. Nobody is that much ahead of anybody the first half of the season. This is what it’s all about — district play,” Brown said.

Franklin County (0-6) is coming off a loss to Class 3A No. 3 Jefferson Davis County, 36-0, in which the Bulldogs had minus-four yards of total offense and just two first downs.

Bulldog coach Trey Woodard said his team was simply outmatched.

“Jefferson Davis County is really good,” he said.

That being said, Brown said he does not want his team to take the Bulldogs lightly.

“The main thing is that they’re still Franklin County. We’re only 2-3. I feel like nobody’s dominant. We’re both 0-0 in terms of district play,” Brown said. “They’re going to come at you. They’re going to play hard. They’re going to be aggressive. Win or lose, they’re going to fight. They’re going to be aggressive.”

Woodard said a win over the Wildcats at their homecoming game would mean a lot for the Bulldogs.

“It would be huge for our program,” Woodard added. “They’re very good in the defensive front, and their skill players are very talented.”