Spring football games set Thursday, May 12 in Meadville

by Sean Dunlap

Franklin County’s varsity and junior varsity football teams have been busy prepping for next week’s spring gridiron contests against Crystal Springs and Lawrence County, according to Head Football Coach B.J. Smithhart.

The three programs are set to take part in a controlled scrimmage beginning at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 12 at FCHS.

“A lot of what we are doing is working on basic concepts with our new offensive coordinator coming on board,” he said.

“And we’re using this time to help figure out some of the position battles going into the fall. Right now, it’s primarily about putting together a good base.”

The Bulldogs’ line-up for 2022 will likely be a good mixture of new and returning faces — with more experience on the roster than has been the case in the recent past.

“We’ll certainly be older than we have been to start the season as our big group this year will be our junior class,” Smithhart continued.

“A lot of them came into the program when they were freshmen and will now be upperclassmen. We have as many at that level as we do our underclassmen, and that’s a positive for us in terms of overall experience.”

Still, Smithhart said there will be some key leadership positions on the field that will need to be filled with senior players like JaMarlin Green, Parker Marcengill and Jamal Coleman leaving the program due to graduation.

“We’re looking for guys who can step up and take on new challenges, and I feel like we have a really good group to work with,” Smithhart added.

“Having a chance to see how our guys adapt and grow in practice and on the field are the biggest things we hope to see during our spring workouts.”

The Bulldogs are now about halfway through with their spring drills — taking part in a total of 15 practice sessions over the course of four weeks as the school year rapidly comes to a close.

“There’s never enough time when you’re getting ready to play, and you don’t feel like you have everything in place, but you do the best you can,” he said.

“We feel like we’re going to find out who can tackle and block during our workouts and during next week’s games.”

Another element that will help the Bulldogs’ football program reach its potential is the weight room, which Smithhart said is vital for his players to build their overall strength and endurance.

“The weight room is a big deal for all of our sports, especially football,” he noted. “The ones who commit to it will certainly make the games, and most of our guys have been open and committed to it.

“I think that’s another positive for our players maturing into their roles and I feel like everything is moving along pretty good on this front.

“The spring will be a pretty good test to see where we are in terms of our conditioning and we’ll face two pretty physical football teams.”

FC will face off against Crystal Springs beginning at 6 p.m., with the two teams getting 20 varsity snaps and 10 JV plays each, according to Smithhart.

“About 6:45, Crystal Springs will play Lawrence County using the same format, and at around 7:30, we’ll wrap up playing Lawrence County,” he went on to say.