Pike County Football gears up for return to Class 4A

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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The Pike County Bulldogs return to Class 4A this season for the first time since the 1990s.

Pike County has been a member of Class 3A for the majority of its time since the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) went to individual classifications, but played in 4A from 1984 through 1999. During that stretch in the 1980s and 1990s, Pike County won nine region championships, won back-to-back State Championships in 1988 and 1989 and made the playoffs 13 straight seasons.

Current PCHS head coach Mark Hurt was a member of the first 4A team in 1984 and earned All-State honors in 1985. Those ’88 and ’89 championship teams included standout players like Steven Coleman and Fred Baxter.

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Baxter went on to play at Auburn before being drafted by the New York Jets and playing in the NFL for a decade. Coleman is one of the most decorated players in Pike County history, earning All Southern, All-State, Mr. Football and 4A Player of the Year honors during his career before playing at Troy.

Pike County is coming off a 4-5 record in its last season in Class 3A last year after making a deep run in the playoffs in 2022. Pike County will open up the season on Aug. 23 for the annual preseason jamboree against rival Charles Henderson in Brundidge.

The regular season starts off at home against Class 3A’s Houston Academy with the Raiders coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons. Pike County then straps in for a two-game road trip against new Class 4A, Region 2 foes Geneva on Sept. 6 and Opp on Sept. 13. Geneva is coming off a 4-7 season last year, while Opp went 4-7 in 3A in 2023. The last time Pike County and Geneva played was in 2019, a 14-7 Panther win. The two sides are tied 11-11-3 all-time in a series that dates back to 1926.

Pike County is back at home for another region matchup with Ashford on Sept. 20. The Jackets are coming off a 4-6 season in 3A last year. Pike County travels to Dale County on Sept. 27 to face off against Class 5A’s Carroll in a non-region game. The two sides last met in 2021, a 49-6 Carroll win.

Pike County is back at home for a two-game home stand against Daleville on Oct. 4 for Homecoming and Straughn on Oct. 11. Pike County then travels to Dale County on Oct. 18 and closes ou the regular season on the road at New Brockton on Oct. 25. Pike County and Dale County last met in 2015, a 59-0 Bulldog victory.