Bulldogs on the road against unbeaten Tigers

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2001

Sports Writer

For the 48 teams that made it to the second round of the playoffs the road has been long. And for the Pike County Bulldogs that long road has been extended another 165 miles to Springville.

The Springville Tigers are 11-0, and are coming off of a 17-point first round victory after trouncing W.S. Neal 47- 30 to open the Alabama state playoffs.

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Concerning the Tigers perfect record Pike County coach Wayne Grant said: "There are not many teams with poor records left. Having an 11-0 record says that they’re obviously doing something right."

Springville is no stranger to putting points on the board as they run a diversified offense out of several different formations.

"They are real explosive on offense and can score from anywhere," Grant said. "They run out of shotgun-formation, sometimes with an empty backfield, and sometimes with three wide receivers. They also like to use the Pro-I and Pro -Twin sets."

Last week the Bulldogs’ defense played tough for four quarters, but did give up several big plays in a 7-3 win over Fultondale. Despite allowing those big plays the Bulldogs played superbly in the red zone.

"I was pleased with the defense inside of the 20-yard line, but between the 20’s we gave up some big plays, and I wasn’t too pleased with that. We stopped them when we had to and that’s what counts," Grant said.

Grant praised his defense for the late goal line stand against Fultondale that may have been a game winning stop for the Bulldogs.

"That’s the best (goal line stand) that I’ve had in years. The only other one that compares to that one was a team that I coached back in 1978," Grant said.

Pike County’s offense should be a little more productive this week as Craig Flowers and Terrell Gray will see more playing time. Grant said that Gray, who was suffering from a foot injury, is still not 100 percent but will be used this week.

"Hopefully our offense won’t sputter two weeks in a row," Grant said.

Last week Fultondale held Chris Nickson in check and that disrupted the offense. Pike County’s offense stalled as Nickson was only able to gain 37 yards rushing and 25 yards passing. The Bulldog offense will face another tough challenge this Friday night.

Springville runs a 4-4 defense and according to coach Grant they have a solid group of linebackers.

"They have a kid at linebacker, I don’t remember his name, but he will knock your hat off. We’ve got to find a way to stop him because if we don’t he’s going to be in on every tackle," Grant said.

The Bulldogs will leave for Springville around noon Friday and Grant hopes that they will have most of their traveling out of the way by 3 p.m.. Grant doesn’t look for the lengthy trip to affect his team and his expectations for the Bulldogs are still the same, despite the Tigers record.

"We have as good a chance as they have of winning. They have some good athletes, but on the other hand we have some good athletes, too. When you compare schedules we’ve probably played a tougher schedule than they have. Maybe our tough schedule will be to our benefit," Grant said. "In order for us to win this game we’ll have to be able to defend the deep pass and defend the speed option."

All playoff games are set for 7p.m.