Opening statement

Published 11:57 pm Friday, August 27, 2010

A year ago, Robert Johnson could be seen pacing down the sidelines in Bulldog Stadium during the season opener.

But it was not for the team in purple and white.

Johnson made the trip to Pike County with this former team, the Carroll Eagles.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Bulldogs would send the Eagles back to Ozark empty handed thanks to a 19-18 loss.

But that was a year ago.

On Friday night, Johnson was again seen pacing the sidelines at Bulldog Stadium – this time coaching the home team.

And unlike last season, Johnson and his team did not leave empty handed.

The new era for the Bulldogs got off to a fast start, thanks to a dominating 36-0 win over Notasulga.

“I’m very proud of the guys,” Johnson said after the game. “They did all the work.

“Everyone played hard tonight and they got the job done.”

PCHS was able to take control of the game right from the start thanks in part to its starting quarterback, senior Jerelle Bailey.

The dual-threat signal caller was able to carve up the Blue Devil defense both the ground and through the air.

Bailey finished 6-6 for 97 yards passing and rushed for another 20 yards on four carries in the first two Bulldog series alone, both of which ended with a Quadry Greasham touchdown reception.

“I came out (Friday night) and wanted to work as hard as I could,” the senior said.

“We really wanted to win this game. We really wanted to make a statement after the loss to Charles Henderson (last week).

“We played good, but we will get back,” Bailey added.

The starting quarterback finished the game going 9-9 for 130 yards and two touchdown passes and rushed for 41 yards on nine carries.

After a Deion Nickson safety put the Bulldogs up 16-0 early in the second quarter, it was time for PCHS other quarterback, junior Marlon Meadows, to take over.

The quarterback drove his team down the field twice in its final possession before the half, to put PCHS up 30-0.

The first drove went 48 yards in seven plays, and saw Meadows rush for six yards and touchdown and also hit Greasham for a 12-yard reception.

Like the first drive, the second drive saw the quarterback using both his arms and his feet, as he completed both passes for 28 yards and ran into the endzone on a two-yard run.

“I thought both our quarterbacks did an outstanding job for us (Friday night),” Johnson said.

“They both took the team down the field multiple times and were able to exploit the defense with their abilities.”

Meadows finished 3-8 for 40 yards with two interceptions while rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

The Bulldogs put one more score on the board late in the third quarter, when running back Raheem Pearison scored on a two-yard run to make it a 36-0 lead.

While the offense was doing its job, the defense was taking care of business just the same.

PCHS held NHS in check all night, only allowing seven first downs and forcing four turnovers.

“The defense really wanted to get this shutout,” the coach said. “And they were the big key to the game.

“You don’t win without a good defense and by keeping (Notasulga) out of the endzone, they gave us a great chance to win.”

With the first win with the Bulldogs under his belt, Johnson said he was a bit relieved.

“It feels great – it really does.

“I think we were all really looking forward to this game and winning it. I though the guys played well, even though the second half was a little sloppy.

“We did a good job of taking care of business early and now we have to look to continue to get better,” the coach added.

In all, the PCHS offense tallied 352 yards and 16 first downs, 10 of which came in the first half.

With the first game out of the way, the Bulldogs will not prepare for its first region game of the season, on the road, against Slocomb.

“Remember the 24-hour rule,” Johnson told his team after game. “This was a good win, but we have our first region game coming up next week, and we have to be ready to go.”