Pike County aims for home playoff spot

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 17, 2014

By Devin Smith

BRUNDIDGE — Pike County kept rolling with their second-straight region victory last Friday after a 39-12 road win against Wicksburg, and the Bulldogs are looking to make it three-straight Friday night in their homecoming game against familiar Region 2 opponent Slocomb.

Pike County (5-1, 3-1) will get the Redtops (4-3, 3-1) this week in a game that coach Fred Holland knows is vital for the Bulldogs as they work toward securing a playoff spot.

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“It’s very important for us,” Holland said. “We lost one of our region games early and it’s very important that you try to get better as you go. In the last two region games we’ve played pretty well. I think we’re getting better as we go and that is one thing that I preach to our kids about.”

Despite the early setback, Pike County has stayed focused and played great football, which has impressed Holland as the team moves through region play.

“Going into this stretch of region play I can’t say enough about the players and the coaches and what they have done,” Holland said.

Slocomb is a well-coached team as well, and Holland gives a lot of the credit for the success to Redtop head coach Jon Cooper.

“Well coach Cooper does a very good job preparing his kids,” Holland said. “I can’t say enough about what he has done for their program.”

Friday night, Pike County will be playing in the familiar environment and atmosphere of their home field. Holland hopes being at home behind the support of an excited crowd can help his team in the matchup.

“Being able to play at home is a big advantage,” Holland said. “It gives us a chance to have a little more game preparation instead of having to hit the road early. The fans get into it and players really enjoy it so we’re just glad to be able to get one at home.”

Pike County has hung their hat on the running game up to this point in the season. But Slocomb is known for putting a lot of bodies on the defensive line to stuff the run, and the Bulldogs will have to find ways to counter that.

Offensively, Slocomb is an equally talented group with the size and speed necessary to cause problems for the Pike County defense.

“They are big up front and have some very exciting skill players including the quarterback,” Holland said. “He’s young and has been doing a really good job. They kind of run a spread type offense with guys who can run the ball.”

Both teams are built for what should be a very physical game with a lot to gain and more to lose.

“We realize the game will be tough, but we’re both pretty tough teams and I think it’s going to be a good matchup,” Holland said. “We both have to score to win and both teams do a good job on defense, so I feel like it’s going to be a very exciting game.”