Welcome to the dog house
Published 11:01 pm Thursday, November 14, 2013
The Pike County Bulldogs (7-4) have not hosted a home playoff game since 2009. For a program that won four region titles and three state titles from 2002 to 2007, the last four years have felt like an eternity.
All that changes Friday night as the Bulldogs welcome in the Bayside Admirals (7-4) of Daphne to Bulldog Stadium.
In order to host in the second round, the Bulldogs had to battle past Trinity Presbyterian on the road last Friday in Montgomery. Head coach Fred Holland called the Bulldog’s 21-14 victory a “very big win” for the program. “Last week was a very big win for us,” Holland said. “It had been the first time we were in the playoffs in a while. It was our first win in the playoffs in a long time. I think the win speaks volumes about how hard the kids work. They come out here every day and do what they need to do. It also says a lot about how hard the coaches have worked.”
Pike County will have its hands full trying to slow down the Admiral offense. Bayside has scored more than 30 points in each of its last six games.
The Admirals are led by quarterback Hunter Slater, who has committed to play baseball at Southern Miss. Holland said his team is ready for the challenge. “We’re basically going to play hard-nosed defense,” Holland said. “I doubt that we’ll change very much from what we’ve been doing. We’re going to try to make it a physical game. They have two good running backs and a good quarterback. We have our work cut out for us.”
Holland said it has not been difficult to keep the players focused on the goal at hand. “We stress playing well on every single play,” Holland said. “The kids know that, if we lose, the season is over. They know what’s at stake. They are giving all their effort. It is not hard to keep the team focused.”
This will be the second trip to Pike County for the Admirals. Bayside opened the season against Charles Henderson with a 21-34 loss. Though Holland said he had not spoken to CHHS coach Mike Dean about the Admirals, he said his coaching staff has been working hard to prepare. “We’ve done a lot of film study during the past week,” Holland said. “We think it shows a true indication of what they will run. Once you get to the second round, every team is going to be good. Our preparation has been in-depth.”
Holland said hosting the first playoff football game in Brundidge since 2009 will be huge for the community. “This game means a lot for our fans in the community,” Holland said. “The people in Brundidge love football. It means a lot that they can come out and not have to travel. We just really love our football at Pike County.”
The Bulldogs will battle for a spot in the third round this Friday in Brundidge.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium. Tickets will be $8 at the gate.