Published 11:30 pm Friday, November 6, 2009
The Pike County Bulldogs made it through its regular season with a perfect 9-0 record and a Class 3A Region 2 championship.
However, that was then, and this is now.
The Bulldogs had a week to prepare for its playoff game against Luverne, and as it turned out, may have needed more.
Despite having home field advantage, PCHS was unable to make it past the first round of the playoffs for a second straight, falling to the Tigers again, 13-7.
“A winner doesn’t win every ball game,” head coach Eddie Stephenson said to his team after the game. “But if you put your heart into every game, no matter the out come, you are a winner.”
What worked for the Bulldogs all season long offensively, failed to show up on Friday night, as the team’s two senior stars, quarterback Josh Park and running back Marquavous Knox struggled to move the chains.
The two combined for just 102 yards on 23 carries as Knox finished with 88 yards and a touchdown while Parker finished with 14 yards.
The quarterback also through two costly interceptions – one that step up Luverne’s first touchdown and another that ended the game.
LHS was led by running backs Ryan Mcghee and Lance Brooks.
Mcghee finished with 151 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown while Brooks finished with 66 yards on 13 carries.
“This was a tough game for us,” Stephenson said.
“I knew it was going to be a defensive battle coming in. I thought our kids played hard – they played with everything they had.”
LHS drew blood first, thanks to a Parker interception that was returned to the Bulldogs’ two-yard line.
Mcghee would run into the end zone on the ensuing play.
PCHS answered right back, with a seven-play 62 yard drive that was topped off with a Knox 37-yard run to tie the game.
This would be the Bulldogs’ last touchdown of the year.
The score would remain the same until the opening drive of the second half, when the Tigers reached the back of the end zone after a nine-play, 75-yard drive.
PCHS would get five more possessions to try and take the lead, thanks to a LHS missed extra point.
However each try came up fruitless. “Size made a huge difference tonight. I have said it all week, I think [Luverne] is the best No. 4 seed in the playoffs,” Stephenson said. “We felt good about our defense all night long – it really kept us in the game.
Even with the loss, Stephenson said there was much for his team to be proud of.
“[I’m] very happy with what our players did this season – I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “I thought the kids really played their guts out [Friday] and even though we lost, there are still a lot of positives to look at.”
The loss brings the Bulldogs’ final record to 9-1.
Luverne will once again be on the road as it prepares for its match up against T.R. Middle next weekend.