Jackets stung

Published 12:41 am Saturday, October 3, 2009

It took the first two quarters of the game against the Abbeville Yellow Jackets, before the Pike County Bulldogs started to flex its muscles.

But when the team did, there was no question which team would leave the field victorious.

Despite a sluggish first half that involved just 14 points and three turnovers, the Bulldogs were able to overcome and stomp the Yellow Jackets in a 35-10-homecoming victory at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night.

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With the win, the Bulldogs eclipsed their win total from last year, five, and improved its record to 6-0, 4-0 in 3A Region 2.

The win didn’t come easily though – after taking a 14-3 lead in the middle of the second, the Bulldogs were posed to add another seven before senior quarterback Josh Parker fumbled on the 4-yard line.

Yellow Jacket defender Quetin Newman returned a 94-yard fumble recovery to the back of the end zone, cutting the Bulldog lead to four at 14-10.

“What we run on offense is something that can be defended and Abbeville did a great job of that in the first half,” Bulldogs head coach Eddie Stephenson said.

“I got to give a lot of credit to them – they out played us in the first eight minutes of the game and then after that we were able to pick it back up.”

Abbeville forced a Marquavous Knox fumble as well in the first half.

The Bulldogs were able to out gain the Yellow Jackets 172-83 in offensive yardage as well as in total first down in nine to five.

“Well for the first half, like the whole year, we came out a little flat and that has been a problem for us,” Parker said.

“Going into the locker, coach told us we got to pick it and come out in the second half fighting.”

In the second half, Parker would answer that call.

Park finished the game with rushing for 180 yards on 20 carries and crossed the goal line three different times, twice in the second half, in the rout.

He also completed two of seven passes for 12 yards and an interception.

“It feels great [running over people],” the senior quarterback said.

“I knew I had to step it up [coming into the season] since I was a senior this year and this being my last year, but I couldn’t do anything without my teammates – they are a big reason for what I have been able to do this season.”

Stephenson said the game against Abbeville was one his team needed for later on in the season.

“The things we talked about at halftime was that we need to be in close games here and there, we need to be challenged,” the coach said.

“We asked them to responded and they did. We needed his game – [a game like this] prepares us for other big games as well as the playoffs.”

When asked the difference between last season’s team and this season’s, Stephenson responded with one word.

“Chemistry,” he said.

“These kids believe in each other, they want this tradition to carry on and they are carrying it on every night.

“We are probably not the most talented team that Pike County has ever had, but I challenge to see another Pike County team that had a bigger heart than this Pike County team,” the coach added. “This team will play through anything.”

Parker said being undefeated this far into the season was something many people probably didn’t expect.

“It feels great,” Parker said with a smile.

“Coming off of last year, you would have never thought we could do it, but we have a great coaching staff and a group of guys that never give up.”

Even with the big homecoming win, Stephenson said his team is not done yet.

“It’s great that we got to 6-0, and being 4-0 in the region has probably got us a playoff spot but our work is not finished. We have to deal with Dale County coming up – we have to focus on them, you know, it’s one game at a time,” the coach said.

After a week at home, the Bulldogs will hit the road again next week taking on Dale County with a 7 p.m. kickoff.