Dogs clock clarke

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

BRUNDIDGE – The Pike County offense passed its final tuneup Friday night before taking on the state's top team.

The Bulldogs will face T.R. Miller next week in Brewton, but before they could think about that game, they came out an soundly defeated Clarke County 55-6 Friday night. Pike County (6-1, 5-0) racked up 503 yards of total offense in sending Clarke County (3-4, 1-4) to the loss. Clarke County gained only 194 yards the entire game.

"Offensively, we played well," head coach Wayne Grant said. "Defensively, we were a little shaky to start. But we played well to hold them to only six points."

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The Pike County offense was balanced as well as being explosive. The Bulldogs gained 245 yards on the ground, 258 through the air and earned 27 first downs.

Pike County quarterback Chris Nickson accounted for 361 yards of the offense, gaining 103 yards on the ground and throwing for all 258 yards through the air. He rushed for four touchdowns and threw for three.

His favorite target on the night was senior tight end Nick Walker. Walker caught eight passes for 129 yards and a score. His biggest catch may have been his grab on third-and-15 from the Pike County 2-yard line in the second quarter.

Walker caught a 27-yard pass from Nickson to spark a 93-yard touchdown drive. Nickson carried the ball for the final 20 yards, and James Jackson ran in the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 22-0 halftime advantage. If not for the third-down play, Pike County would have been punting from its end zone with only a 14-point lead.

Elijah Daniel also had a good day receiving. He caught three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, and he recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass. Reggie Griffin caught the other touchdown pass and finished with 59 yards receiving.

Though he did not score, freshman running back James Jackson led the team in rushing. He carried the ball 11 times for 126 yards.

Early on, the game looked like it would be a track meet. Clarke County twice drove inside the Pike County 20-yard line in the first quarter, but both times the Pike County defense forced turnovers.

On the game's first drive, Elijah Daniel recovered a Clarke County fumble at the Pike County 17. The Bulldogs then marched 83 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on Nickson's first touchdown run. He ran for the first four Pike County touchdowns.

On Clarke County's next possession, Chris Bell intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart another scoring chance. The line of scrimmage was the 8-yard line.

Pike County needed eight plays again to march 80 yards, and Nickson sneaked the ball into the end zone from a yard away to make the score 14-0.

Pike County put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Nickson scored from 2-yards out on the first drive of the second half to give the Bulldogs a 30-0 lead. Clarke County scored its only points of the night on the next drive, but Pike County drove 74 yards in six plays to go back in front 36-6. Walker caught a 2-yard jump pass from Nickson for the score.

Antonio "Bubba" Kelly recovered one of Clarke County's seven fumbles on the next Clarke County possession, and Nickson hit Griffin for a 23-yard scoring play. The quarter ended with Pike County leading 42-6.

Pike County closed out the scoring in the fourth with a 28-yard Nickson-to-Daniel pass and a 1-yard Jarmon Barrow run.

The playoff picture for Class 3A Region 1 is now set, with Pike County, T.R. Miller, Straughn and W.S. Neal clinching berths. Pike County and T.R. Miller are undefeated in region play heading into next week's throwdown in Brewton. T.R. Miller defeated Central-Hayneville 48-16 Friday night.