Pike County hosts Geneva looking to lock up playoff spot

Published 10:25 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Pike County Bulldogs are fresh off their biggest win of the season, a 46-14 victory over Montgomery Catholic, but head coach Fred Holland said his coaching staff is still searching for something more from the players.

“We constantly preach getting better,” Holland said. “Our defense played pretty decent, and I was proud of the offense for putting up so many points.”

For Holland, playing “pretty decent” means forcing five turnovers, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, and leading 20-0 with seven minutes gone in the first quarter.

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Holland singled out Chris Adair, Isaac Nickson and Jocerria Jones as standout performers in the Bulddogs’ win over Montgomery Catholic.

With the win over the Knights, the Bulldogs moved to 3-2 in region play.

It has been a stark turnaround for the Bulldogs since the beginning of the year. Pike County opened the season 0-2 in region play after dropping games to Barbour County and Dale County.

What has been the biggest change for the Bulldogs during the 2013 season? The Bulldogs have learned to finish games. In every region loss this year, Pike County led at halftime but collapsed in the second half.

In the past few weeks, however, the Bulldogs have been closing out games handily. Pike County followed up strong first half performances against Abbeville, Daleville and Montgomery Catholic with complete games in 28-0, 29-14 46-14 victories respectively.

Holland attributes the team’s turnaround to the work that his coaching staff has done.

“The players are accepting the coaches,” Holland said. “We’ve got the kids in a practice routine now, and the players are starting to believe in what we’re doing.”

Holland also said players on his team are taking responsibility. “We’ve got a few kids leading in the right direction,” Holland said. “It’s not always leading vocally; it’s going out and getting the job done the right way.”

Holland is hoping to carry over the Bulldogs momentum into their homecoming matchup with the Geneva Panthers.

The Bulldog defense faces a tall task in slowing down the Geneva offense that has averaged over 26 points-per-game. Geneva running back Destin Hutcherson is one of the top backs in the Wiregrass. “Geneva has two really good backs—the running back and the quarterback,” Holland said. “They are real strong in the running game.”

Holland said that his defense would be focused on slowing Hutcherson down. “Geneva wants to run,” Holland said. “We like stopping the run. It’s going to be physical down on the line. We look forward to the challenge.”

With it being homecoming week, Pike County will need to keep its focus on the game Friday night and not on the homecoming festivities, but Holland said he is not worried about his team’s focus. “Our coaches are preaching to the kids to stay focused,” Holland said. “We don’t want to take away from the homecoming festivities, but we’re going to concentrate on football. We’ll receive our praises after the game.”

Pike County trails the all-time series with Geneva 8-9-3. Last year, the Panthers blew out Pike County 51-20 in Geneva.

Kickoff this year is set for 7 p.m. Friday Night in Brundidge.