Holland ready to rebuild tradition at Pike County

Published 8:23 pm Friday, August 3, 2012

Pike County fielded its first football team in 1920. Since then the Bulldogs have won 15 region titles, had 12 ten-win seasons and captured five Alabama High School Athletic Association state titles. But 2011 showed that all those accomplishments mean little on Friday night.

Last season Pike County suffered through one of its worst seasons ever. The Bulldogs won just one football game in 2011, against Geneva in the season finale. Since Alabama high school football moved to ten game schedules, Pike County has had only one season statistically worse than last.

Though they only captured the one win, Pike County head coach Fred Holland hopes to use the win as a launching pad for 2012.

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“Winning that last game, gives the kids an opportunity to look forward to a winning season this year,” Holland said. “We have worked hard this summer and improved our condition levels. We are proud of the effort our kids have put out, so far.”

Holland took over mid-season last year, and seemed to have an immediate impact on the Bulldogs. In Holland’s first game at the helm, Pike County scored 20 points in a loss to Goshen. In the four games prior to that, the team had scored 20 points total.

The 2012 season will also be the first time since 2006-2007 the that ended the season as head coach will start the next season as the head man. That coach was Pike County legend, Wayne Grant.

“It’s good for the kids to have someone there that they can count on,” Holland said. “They don’t have to worry about changing from the system we put it in last year. They ended 2011 doing what we are doing now.”

Grant won 184 games in 19 years at the helm of Pike County. Holland played for Grant on the 1988 state championship team, and coached alongside his mentor during Grant’s second stint in Brundidge from 1999-2007.

“He taught us to work hard,” said Holland of Grant. “Get the kids to belive in what you are trying to do, and set a good, solid foundation to build things on.”

Holland said that the 2012 edition of the Bulldogs will play hard and smart, and try to restore the program one game at a time.

“If our guys play hard, and do things the ‘Pike County way’ things will turn around,” said Holland. Our players believe in it, our coaches believe in it, and the fans will be able to see it.”

Practice for AHSAA teams is set to begin on Monday, August 6.