By Paul Keane
The Franklin Advocate
After taking on schools in higher classifications for the first three weeks of the season, the Bulldogs of Franklin County High will matchup this week against a team they may matchup with better, at least numbers wise.
FCHS travels to Wesson Friday night to take on the Cobras of Wesson High. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Co-Lin Community College.
The Class 2A Cobras, just like the Bulldogs, are 0-3 and looking for their first win of the season. Wesson fell to Crystal Springs, 19-12, in the season opener before dropping a 30-6 decision to Sumrall in Week 2 and then falling by a 14-12 margin to Mize last week.
FCHS has dropped games to Class 4A foes Northeast Jones and South Pike, then dropped a game against Class 5A North Pike last week. Head Coach B.J. Smithhart said facing a team that should have similar numbers on the sidelines should help this week.
“It helps some,” he said. “They are in the same boat as we are in that they don’t have a lot of players so everyone has to be ready to play both ways.
“They are a good football team, though, even if they haven’t won a game this year. They are very well coached and young in some spots like we are, but they’ve had two close games and just let the other one get away from them.”
Smithhart expects a balanced Cobras attack to greet his team at Co-Lin Friday night.
“They want to run the football, but they can throw it as well,” he said. “They are balanced and can hurt you in a number of different ways.”
Co-Lin re-surfaced its football field over the summer, and Smithhart admits that being able to play in a facility such as that should make the game a little more special.
“Last week we played at Southwest and this week it’s at Co-Lin,” he said. “I don’t think playing in the bigger stadiums or on turf makes much difference, but it does make the experience a little more special.
“It’s good for the kids to get to experience something like playing in a college stadium and on the turf. It will be something new, but I don’t think it’s going to factor into the outcome.”
What will factor into the outcome is how the Bulldogs play Friday night. The head coach said he wants to see improvement in a number of areas.
“We definitely need to improve our tackling,” Smithhart said. “Offensively, we’re somewhat limited on how many points we can put up because the offense is still developing. That puts a lot of pressure on our defense.”
Smithhart added that a few basic keys will play a role in whether his Bulldogs are successful or not.
“We have to take care of the football, first and foremost,” he said. “We’ve also got to want it more than they do. Both teams are looking for their first win of the year, and it’s going to come down to who wants it the most.”
By Paul Keane