YEAR IN REVIEW: Bulldogs finish historic season in playoffs, Trojans make playoffs under Lowery
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2015
It was the year of big plays in 2015 and no one knew that better than the Pike County Bulldogs. Led by 13 seniors the Bulldogs made it all the way to the second round of Class 3A Alabama State Playoffs before falling to T.R. Miller, finishing the season with a 9-2 record.
“The season didn’t end like it wanted it to, but I thought our guys played extremely well,” said Bulldogs head coach Fred Holland. “Overall I thought we were led by our seniors. Everything we accomplished this year was because of their leadership. I am proud of them for what they have done.”
The defense defined the Bulldogs in 2015. Pike County began the season with a five-game shutout streak. The Bulldogs preached fundamentals and worked continuously all season long on tackling and creating turnovers.
“They did some of the things the teams of old did,” Holland said. “They were able to get shutouts. They did a lot of things to get them to where they were. The kids were proud of the shutouts, and it showed throughout the year. They will go down as one of the best defenses the school has had.”
Led by seniors Deshon Cowling, Jerrell Lawson, and Kamari Jackson the Bulldogs were able to outscore their opponents by a staggering 403-20.“They got better and they accomplished a whole lot,” Holland said. “They did a lot to help and improve the offense. What they did was great.”
After losing 13 seniors heading into 2016 Holland is exciting to see what the future holds for the Bulldogs.
The 2015 took on a different look early for the Charles Henderson Trojans. After going through the offseason expecting Bryson Gandy to start at quarterback, head coach Brad McCoy made the decision to turn to quarterback Noah Lowery after a couple of early-season losses. Lowery grew up as the season went along and the young quarterback led the Trojans to a 5-5 record and a first round loss in the Class 6A state playoffs.
“When we went into that second game against Dale County, our expectations were ‘Noah don’t give the game away’,” McCoy said. “I really think Noah went way above and beyond any expectations we might have given him.”
The Trojans finished the season with a 3-3 conference record after facing tough competition such as Greenville and Northview. Even though the Trojans didn’t finish where they wanted the future looks bright for McCoy and the Trojans.
“The main thing was how well the team played at the end of the season,” McCoy said. “We won the last three out of four games we played and those are some things that we are able to take into the off season and use it as motivation.”
The Goshen Eagles also made the playoffs in 2015. After finishing the regular season with a 4-6 record, the Eagles secured a playoff berth in the Class 2A state playoffs. They fell in the opening round against Washington County 39-0.
The Eagles began the season with a 0-5 start and were outscored 204-30 after a change at quarterback The Eagles finished the regular season with a 4-1 record.
“The season started off a little rocky,” said Eagles head coach Bart Snyder. “Through the leadership and the adjustments that were made by the younger players, we were able to reach one of our goals and that is to be commended by our guys for the work that they did.”
The Eagles made the post season for the seventh straight time and even though the Eagles finished under the .500 mark, Snyder believes it was an accomplishment and momentum his players can take with them into offseason.
“A lot of people would say ‘you’re 4-6 and you made the playoffs?” Snyder said. “We made the playoffs. That is something that half of the 2A teams in the state weren’t able to do. We reached that for seven straight years and we are excited about that.”
The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots struggled with injuries all season long and limped into the offseason with a 4-6 overall record and just a 1-5 record within the conference.
“We were hoping we were going to be able to do a lot better than what we did,” said Patriots coach Gene Allen. “We screwed up a lot of games with turnovers or what not. Overall I was proud with the effort of our kids.”
The Patriots were led all season long by sophomore quarterback Reed Jinright. The Young quarterback helped lead the Patriots to 24 points per game and progressed as the season went along.
“He made tremendous progress this year,” Allen said about Jinright. “He did a great job as the season went along he got better and better. He had a couple 300-yard games and he did some really good things.”
After dropping to 1-2 within their region, the Patriots enjoyed three straight non region games by winning all three and outscoring their opponents 149-54. Once region play continued the struggles continued for the Patriots.
The Zion Chapel Rebels continued to make strides in 2015.
““It was a successful season,” said Rebels head coach Bradley Bowers. “My goal was to come out and win four or five games. We didn’t do that, but another goal that I had was making the playoffs this year and we had a shot.”