Bulldogs won first state title against Tarrant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 25, 2001

Sports Editor

Last week, 15-year-old Pike County quarterback Chris Nickson said he couldn’t remember when the Bulldogs had last won a state championship.

There are probably plenty of players on Tarrant High School’s sideline who could say the same thing.

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Like Pike County, Tarrant has won two state championships, but none of the current Wildcats’ players were around at the time. Tarrant won state twice, once in 1964 and again in 1971.

Pike County’s 14-12 win over defending state champion Aliceville on Friday night sets up a semifinal game at home against Tarrant next week. The Wildcats were 21-13 victors over Lanett in the other quarterfinal game.

If the name Tarrant sounds familiar to the people of Brundidge, it should.

The Bulldogs beat Tarrant 17-8 in the 1988 Class 4A state championship game to win its first ever state title.

Almost 13 year’s later, things haven’t changed that much at Pike County. Just like in 1988, Wayne Grant is still the head coach. Fred Holland, quarterback of that ’88 team, is also still around. He’s the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator.

Grant captured another state title in 1989, then left following the 1992 season, before returning in 1999. That year’s team finished 6-4, but didn’t make the playoffs. Last year’s squad was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Washington County, 12-6. Bulldogs’ faithful had become accustomed to playing in the third round during Grant’s first tour of duty.

This year’s team is in the semifinals, Pike County’s first trip to the fourth round since 1993 under then-head coach Michael Beasley.

And that’s where 88’s Tarrant-PCHS match-up and the one next Friday night really differs.

Being a semifinal game, next Friday night’s contest will decide who makes the trip to Birmingham to play the winner of Hokes Bluff-Colbert County for the state title. The AHSAA’s consolidated state championship games,

"the Super Six",

wasn’t around in 1988.

Over a decade ago, both Tarrant and Pike County were classified as 4A schools. Region play, with six or seven teams per region and the top four advancing into the playoffs, wasn’t even a blip on the horizon.

Tarrant entered that ’88 game 12-2. This year, the Wildcats are a perfect 13-0 and are 21-3 under two-year head coach Will Randolph.

Like Tarrant, the Bulldogs also entered that championship game 12-2.