Pike County Bulldogs excited to wrap up summer workouts

Published 9:05 am Monday, July 24, 2023

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On Tuesday, July 25, the Pike County Bulldogs will wrap up summer football workouts with an organized team activity (OTA) in Ozark.

The Bulldogs finished off the spring with a big win over Class 6A Sidney Lanier, which head coach Mark Hurt hoped would springboard the Dawgs into a productive summer. In fact, that momentum is why he held his team out of a planned 7-on-7 Tournament at Troy University to start the summer.

“I thought that (win) was big for us,” Hurt said. “I think we have to have the mindset to go out and compete against any and all opponents we face and I thought it was good that we got behind and then settled down and started to play our style of football.

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“I think the players that got reps in that game realized that they were playing against folks at a higher classification and I think it was a big plus for us overall. That was really the main reason we didn’t go to Troy (for the 7-on-7). We had some guys that couldn’t make it and I didn’t want us to go without having all of our people. I wanted to make sure that we were able to have success, so we could maintain that momentum.”

Pike County has competed in a number of 7-on-7 and OTAs throughout the summer.

“I thought we’ve done well,” Hurt said. “I think we definitely did better than what we did last year. We have another year of experience. Some of our younger guys haven’t been able to be at everything, which made our depth not be where we wanted it to be, but we’re just glad to get the work in and get that experience.”

Summer competition is just one part of summer workouts, while the weight room is one of the biggest priorities for any football program.

“The kids are working hard,” Hurt emphasized. “They’re being consistent in the weight room and in our conditioning. We’re getting stronger and faster and we’re a little older and more mature this year, so I think that is going to help out a lot.”

The 2022 Bulldogs went 8-4 after going 0-9 the previous season. The Bulldogs also made it to the third round of the playoffs for just the second time since 2007. Following the OTA at Carroll in Ozark, Pike County will look toward fall camp, beginning in August.

“I think the biggest thing right now is communication and making sure that we understand our assignments and what to do,” Hurt said of what his team needs to improve on the most. “Physically, I think we’re good and we’re faster and bigger and stronger. It’s about the mental aspect right now and making sure we know those assignments and what to do and the expectations of what we’re trying to do with this program.”

Pike County opens the 2023 season on the road at Charles Henderson in a preseason jamboree on Aug. 25.