Even though last week was the beginning of a new season, a lot looked fairly similar at Pike County High School.
Besides, a new coaching staff, it appeared that not too much had changed from last season when the Bulldogs ran the gauntlet, finishing a perfect 9-0 in the regular season.
Against Notasulga, PCHS picked up right where it left up, shutting down the Blue Devils and cruising to a 36-0 victory.
That shutout was the Bulldogs fourth in the last nine games, but as head coach Robert Johnson told his team after the game, the win was only to be remembered for 24 hours.
Now, both Johnson and his team begin preparation for the next opponent, Slocomb, which also happens to be the team’s first region opponent of the new season.
“Slocomb is a hard nosed football team,” Johnson said about the Red Tops.
“They do a good job of running the football, so we are going to have to be ready to stop that for the entire game, and not just for one or two quarters.”
Both teams in the upcoming contest are well acquainted with one another.
This will be the sixth time the two teams have met since 2004 – five of which have been won by the Bulldogs. Last season, PCHS took out SHS, 36-8 last season in Slocomb behind the rushing attack of Marquavous Knox who rushed for 116 yards and three touchdowns. However, in 2008, the Red Tops were able to squeak past PCHS on the road with a 14-6 win. SHS scored all of its points in a 33 second span in the fourth quarter.
As for this season, both teams will be entering the game coming off differing results.
The Red Tops were handed a 32-8 loss on the road to Cottonwood last week and chances are, will be looking to take out some frustration in its home opener.
In order to make sure that does not happen, Johnson said there were several areas his team needed to improve upon.
“Defensively, I feel like we will need to execute better,” the coach said. “I am proud of how we played, but I would have liked to see some more enthusiasm.
“Offensively, we have to limit our turnovers. That has been a problem the past couple of weeks and we have too more careful with the football,” the coach said.
The person taking control of the offense will be senior Jerrelle Bailey, who according to Johnson, will likely get his second-consecutive start as the Bulldogs’ quarterback. Against Notasulga, Bailey finished a perfect 6-6 through the air, which was good for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
The quarterback also rushed for 20 yards on four carries.
“I think Jerrelle has done a good job for us but so has Marlon (Meadows),” Johnson said.
“I feel pretty good about where we are with both guys (at the quarterback position) and I know both are going to get better.”
All in all, Johnson said he liked where his team was as it prepares during the second week of the season.
“It’s still early, but so far, so good. After the first game of my first season here, I think things are moving along well – I like where the team is headed,” the coach said.
The game between the Bulldogs and the Red Tops will get underway at 7 p.m. Friday night in Slocomb.