Opening night: Bulldogs look to enact revenge against ACA

Published 6:30 pm Thursday, August 29, 2019

Despite their loss to rival Charles Henderson a week ago, the Pike County Bulldogs impressed many that were in attendance. Now, they get ready to officially begin the season when they travel to take on Alabama Christian Academy.

“Coming off the game last week, we have a lot to improve on,” said head coach Fred Holland. “Our guys are looking better and we are trying to improve things on offense, defense and special teams.”

It was a 12-6 defeat, but the undermanned Pike County team left Trojan coach Brad McCoy as well as many of the fans impressed. The Bulldogs, all 23 of them, won the conditioning battle against the much bigger Trojan team. They had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to even the score.

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“We always have a game-like mentality when doing things,” Holland said. “We always preach about doing things the right way. We have a small team and our players understand that. We realize there aren’t a lot of people behind you, so you’re going to have to play. Our coaches take a lot of pride in what we are doing.”

The Bulldogs had most of their success on the ground a week ago. Led by Rayshawn Reynolds, the Bulldogs got their lone touchdown on the ground. For the Bulldogs to be successful in 2019, it will start with running the football.

“Rayshawn is one of our leaders,” Holland said. “It takes a lot of leadership from those guys and they take pride in getting ready. That spreads to everyone else.”

The Bulldogs lost just two regular season games a season ago, including their first game in the regular season opener against Alabama Christian 16-0.

“We didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to compete,” Holland said. “We made a lot of mistakes in that game. Coming off the Charles Henderson game, I don’t know if we were flat, but we made a lot more mistakes. This year we emphasized limiting those mistakes. Try not to make the same mistakes that we made last year.”

The Eagles, like the Bulldogs will feature a run heavy offense. They averaged 19.8 points per game a season ago.

“I think they will spread you out and do the same things they did last year,” Holland said. “They will try to run the ball inside and run a lot of counters and traps. They throw the ball some, but their strength is running the ball like us.”

The Bulldogs rebounded to win their next eight games. Holland hopes a strong performance against ACA this year will provide another boost in momentum.

“Winning always improves things,” Holland said. “We stress doing the right things to win. When you can do that and eliminate mistakes it will be good. A win would allow the guys to see their hard work pay off.”