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Franklin Co. tops Tigers

The visitors from Franklin County thrashed Crystal Springs 43 -14 Friday night in a game that was rated a toss-up by many. The fourth straight loss dropped the Tigers to 4 – 5 on the season.
The loss was also Crystal Springs’ third in a row in district play and all but removed the last glimmers of hope for the squad to make the playoffs. Even worse is the fact that both remaining games are against the league’s top two teams (Wilkinson County and Hazlehurst, respectively) and both are on the road.
The Tigers opened the game on offense and went three and out. Franklin County then drove for a score and the first quarter ended with Crystal Springs trailing by 8. Another touchdown in the second quarter put the visitors up 15 – 0 at the half.
Desperately needing a score to get back in the game, the Tigers came out the second half showing more intensity on defense, but were burned with a 50-yard touchdown pass halfway through the third quarter.
The visitor’s 22 – 0 lead appeared insurmountable, but with four minutes left in the quarter, Crystal Springs caught lightning in a bottle.
Sprinting toward left end, Tiger quarterback Jamario Benson spotted Jeremy Archie streaking across the field from his wide right position and hit him with a perfectly thrown strike for a 60-yard touchdown. Wanner Paiz’ extra point cut the Bulldog lead to 22 – 7.
“I wasn’t worried about catching it,” said Archie. “I was just worried about getting a touchdown.”
Another touchdown came quickly for his team. The Tiger defense forced a punting situation, and do-it-all linebacker Devonta Cunningham broke through to block it and give Crystal Springs the ball just over 30 yards from pay dirt.
“I saw it was open on the last punt,” said Cunningham. “I slid outside, and it was wide open again, and I got it.”
His teammates rewarded his efforts moments later when left guard Devin Clark and center Dy’quavious Graham opened a gaping hole up the middle. Dionysius Hines sped through for a score.
“A big truck could have gone through that hole with the window down,” Hines said in praise of his linemen.
Suddenly the scoreboard read 22 – 14, the Tigers were rolling, and Franklin County was reeling. The CSHS defense forced a punt with 11 minutes left to play and another Tiger touchdown could have tied the score.
It wasn’t to be, however, as two delay-of-game penalties and two dropped passes killed the drive. Another Tiger drive started with 8:53 to go suffered the same fate from two more dropped passes and a holding penalty.
Meanwhile, Franklin County closed out the quarter with three more scores to extend the final to 43 – 14.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers this week. A road trip of just over 100 miles to Woodville to play the number two team in the district awaits CSHS. Suffering a 35 – 22 loss to Hazlehurst last week, the 6 – 2 squad from Wilkinson County will be out for revenge this Friday night.

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