Dollar, Bulldogs look to rebound against Slocomb

Published 9:01 pm Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Pike County High School Bulldogs are reeling after a rare setback to a 1A school on the road as the Rodney Dollar era got off to a slow start last week.

The Bulldogs hope to move forward tonight, when they face Slocomb in the Class 3A, Region 2 opener for both teams. Kickoff from Bulldog Stadium in Brundidge is set for 7 p.m. The weather is expected to be extremely hot and humid again Friday.

This week’s game marks the home opener for the Bulldogs.

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Pike County defeated the Red Tops (4-6 in 2010) during last year’s meeting in Slocomb, 29-24.

The Red Tops (1-0) are coming off a shocking 21-6 verdict over No. 6 2A power Cottonwood Thursday night in the head coaching debut for former Prattville assistant coach Mike Bennefield. Running backs Ehren Faison (33 yards), Devin Lovings (61 yards) and Mason Silavent (16 yards) each scored a touchdown to help pace the Red Tops to their first win over Cottonwood since 1984. The win snapped a 12-game series losing streak against the Bears. Lovings rushed 24 times for 165 yards and one score, while Silavent added 63 yards on the ground and another touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (0-1) are coming off a disappointing 14-7 road loss to Notasulga Friday night. The lone highlight of the game for the Bulldogs was a 62-yard scoring pass from Marlon Meadows to Quadry Greasham in the first quarter.

It has been nearly an entire calendar year since Pike County has won its last football game. The Bulldogs have lost their last five straight games (not counting this year’s jamboree) dating back to the 2010 season. The last win for Pike County was a 36-28 decision on October 1 over Opp.

Coming into tonight’s game, there is a sense of urgency for the Bulldogs after last week’s poor showing against Notasulga.

Pike County head coach Rodney Dollar said his team has a few points to prove versus the Red Tops.

“We’ve had a good week of practice,” Dollar said. “We’re ready. We’re getting ready for a good Slocomb team. There’s nothing else we can do (about last week). It was hard until we got back to practice on Monday. Pike County doesn’t like to lose. Everybody knew we were embarrassed. We realize that was our last free pass since it was a non-region game. Now we’re starting to get ready for the ones that really count.”

Dollar said Bennefield brings a winning mindset from Prattville to a Slocomb program ready to starting winning big again. Slocomb is looking to reach the state playoffs for the first time since 2008 when it shared the 3A, Region 2 title with Daleville going 9-3 advancing to the second round before getting eliminated by T.R. Miller.

“Offensively, they’re very balanced,” Dollar said. “ They will run some no-huddle. They are very patient, disciplined and aggressive on offense. They spread the field by trying to run right at you. They use a lot of formations and motions. They’re a very opened offense. They have a very good looking offensive line that reminds me of the teams we faced when I was (coaching) at Houston Academy.

“They’re very balanced. But we’ve got some plans. We’re going to try to take some of their stuff away from them. We want to make them predictable as possible.”

Dollar said the Bulldogs must dramatically improve on their tackling Friday against the Red Tops.

“We’ve got to tackle well,” Dollar said. “They’ve got good running backs. We’ve got to be fundamentally sound. We’ve got to be solid on defense period.”

Defensively, Dollar said the Red Tops will pose an unusual 3-5-3 alignment that requires a patient running attack for the Pike County offense.

“Their linebackers are very active,” Dollar said. “They’re very active. They come from all over the place. They have people coming from different places before ending up with seven or eight people in the box when the ball is snapped.

“We’ve got to have outstanding (offensive) line play. We have got to be sound in the running game. We’ve got to run right at them and be patient. We also have got to throw and catch.”

As far as special teams are concerned, Dollar said the Bulldogs “performed OK” in the kicking game last week.

“But we’ve got a lot of room for improvement,” Dollar said.