Bulldogs fall to Washington County 12-6 in 3A quarterfinal action

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 26, 2000

Sports Writer

CHATOM – For the Pike County High School Bulldogs, a wet and muddy field along with five turnovers was too much to overcome as they dropped a 12-6 decision to the Washington County Bulldogs 12-6 in the quarterfinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 3A Football Playoffs at Jordan-Wilcox Stadium in Chatom Friday night.

After approximately five inches of rain fell during the afternoon, the game was played on a slow track that seemed to effect both offenses. However, it was the purple and silver clad Bulldogs from Brundidge who was hampered more by the conditions as they lost two fumbles and three interceptions including a pair of costly pickoffs in the end zone twice in the final two minutes of the game to seal their fate.

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On the first possession of the game, Pike County drove to Washington County 45-yard line until the center snap exchange was bobbled by freshman quarterback Chris Nickson which resulted in the first turnover collected by Washington County’s defense.

Following a 30-yard punt return by Tyrone Boyd, the Bulldogs squandered another opportunity when Chris Gaston picked off the first of three passes at the goal line and returned it 52 yards to the Pike County 48-yard line.

After Washington County was forced to punt following another three and out, Pike County scored its only touchdown of the game when Boyd broke a tackle and outraced the entire Washington County secondary 84-yards to the end zone. The two point conversion was no good but with 7:46 left in the first half Pike County led 6-0.

The Bulldogs from Chatom took the ensuing kickoff and drove 84-yards all the way the Pike County one yard line. Unfortunately, Washington County needed 85-yards for pay dirt as Jeremy Lampley and Joey Spikner tackled running Ricky Scruggs on fourth down and goal at the one yard line for a goal line stand preserving a 6-0 lead at intermission.

The second half, however, was a different story as Washington County came out and dominated the field position turning the momentum and the game around. On the opening series of the game, Washington County drive the ball to the Pike County 20-yard line before turning it over on downs.

Unfortunately, it set a bad tone for Brundidge as the Bulldogs lost the ball for the third time setting Washington County up at the Pike County 25-yard line. Five plays later on third down and three from the PCHS seven yard line, Scruggs broke a tackle and raced untouched for the tying touchdown. The extra point was partially blocked, but with 1:12 left in the third quarter the game was tied at 6-6.

Pike County’s running game was bottled up on the next series as three running plays gained minus three yards forcing the Bulldogs to punt setting up Washington County’s game winning drive.

On fourth down and seven at the Pike County 24-yard line, Washington County came with a trick play at just the right time when Michael Johnson took a hand off throwing a halfback pass finding Scruggs opened at the five yard line as he went in untouched for what proved to be the game winning touchdown. The two point conversion was no good but with 8:15 remaining Washington County led 12-6.

Following an exchange of punts, Washington County appeared to run out the clock until Pike County recovered a fumble at the Washington County 31-yard line with exactly five minutes remaining.

However, the Bulldogs were only able to pick up one first down as Nickson’s pass was intercepted by Gaston at the one yard line halting a threat.

After Washington County was unable to pick up a first down and forced to punt it from their own end zone, Pike County took over at the WCHS 43-yard line. After a 11-yard pass completion to Boyd picked up a first down, Nickson fell on a bobbled snap and spiked the ball setting up third down at the WCHS 32-yard line. On the ensuing play, Nickson scrambled and found Boyd open in the end zone. However, the pass was slightly overthrown as Boyd nearly made a sensational catch setting up the game deciding play at the WCHS 32 yard line.

Nickson scrambled around and lofted a pass into the air that was picked off by Gaston to seal Pike County’s fate.

Pike County finished the season 8-5, while Washington County advanced to next week’s semifinals to face Aliceville who defeated Dadeville Friday night.