Ready to go
It has been a long time coming for Jacquez Walker, Deion Nickson, and Jerrelle Bailey.
The three began their careers in 2007, when the team was the defending Class 3A, Region 2 state champion for the third time in four years.
However, they, along with their teammates, became apart of another statistic that was not as celebrated.
As the three seniors enter their final seasons as Bulldogs at Pike County, they are preparing to start another season with a new coach.
The trio has had four different coaches in four years and while some may be discouraged by that statistic, the three players said they could not be more excited to start the new season.
“There have been some ups and some downs along the way,” Walker said.
“But we like this team a lot – we are ready to get things started.
“We all are a little nervous, but I think when we get on the field we will be ready to go.”
While each of the players said the different coaches have brought different things to the table each season, head coach Robert Johnson has done a good job of bringing the players closer together, on and off the field.
“We all have spent a lot of one on one time with coach,” Nickson said.
“He wanted to get to know us and that helped the transition period a lot.
“Each coach has been different for us, obviously, but we all like what he is doing,” the senior added.
As for the new Bulldog head coach, he said the seniors showed just what kind of players they are right from the start.
“All three have done a tremendous job since the first day I got here,” Johnson said.
“They are all leaders both with the team and within the school and they all have made this transition for everyone involved really easy.”
One aspect the coach said he was particularly proud of was how all three players showed their dedication to the team over the summer.
“Both Jerrelle and Jacquez didn’t miss one summer workout and Deion only missed one because he was at a football camp. “To me, it really showed what kind of leaders those three guys are to the team – it really showed they cared about what is going on here,” the coach said.
All three players are factors on both sides of the ball, and prefer defending rather than scoring.
However, it is their offensive roles that are going to play a large role this season.
Both Bailey and Nickson will be lining up in different positions in 2010, as Bailey will be transitioning from wide receiver to quarterback while Nickson will also be moving from the receiver position to offensive tackle. Walker will continue carrying the football, as he enters the season as a running back.
“I got a lot of really good athletes around me,” Bailey said about being successful at his new position.
“I know that I have to make the plays and help the team win. And I know I can do that.”
Like his teammate, Nickson wanted to help his team win, even if that meant leaving a position he loved.
“I wanted to do what was best for the team,” he said about becoming an offensive lineman.
“It was a little difficult at first (leaving his old position) but I got used to (playing the line) and I want to do my best there.”
Walker said his main objective is to have a good year after coming off an injury plagued 2009 season.
“I want to do what I can for my team this year,” he said. “I was hurt a little bit last season, but this season I want to be better and more focused.”
Like other seniors around the country, all three Bulldog players have the same thing on their mind – leaving as champions.
“We want to go out with a bang,” Nickson said with a smile.
“That’s the tradition here,” Bailey added. “We want to be able to come here next year and see ‘2010’ on the scoreboard.”