The resurrection of Pike County’s football program has officially begun.
The Bulldogs, the fourth-seeded team from Region 2, stunned Trinity Friday night at Boykin Field in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, 21-14.
After failing to advance to the postseason the last two years, the win was Pike County’s first playoff win in six years as the Bulldogs attempt to recapture the glory days that featured three state championships in four years between 2003-06.
“I can’t say enough how big this is for our program,” Pike County coach Fred Holland said. “We preached about driving the ball and not turning it over, and they did exactly that tonight.”
Pike County (7-4) dominated the line of scrimmage all evening in mind-boggling fashion. The Bulldogs controlled the ball for nearly 32 minutes and ran 84 offensive plays to only 46 for the Wildcats.
“They did nothing to surprise us. Their offensive line controlled the game all night, and we just couldn’t get our defense off the field,” Trinity coach Randy Ragsdale said. “Bottom line, they were the better team tonight, and they’re going to the second round.”
The tone was set on Pike County’s first possession when the Bulldogs marched 80 yards in 18 plays, chewing 8:50 off the clock. The Bulldogs converted twice on fourth down, the second resulting in the game’s first points when Jerrell Lawson connected with Ryshaun Hall from 8 yards out.
The Bulldogs took a 13-0 lead by covering 79 yards in 11 plays on their next possession with Lamarcus Adair doing most of the damage. The senior running back, who finished the night with 212 yards on 41 carries, scored from 1 yard out.
Trinity (8-3) was able to cut the deficit to 13-7 late in the first half on a 12-play drive of its own. On fourth down from the Bulldog 1, Ben Jones found Jack Albritton in the end zone with 3:53 remaining.
But Pike County continued to assert its presence in the trenches in the second half. The Bulldogs squandered one scoring chance by fumbling at the Trinity 5, but Lawson capped a 10-play drive with a 1-yard scoring plunge on the first play of the final quarter.
Trailing 21-7 with just under three minutes remaining, Trinity finally got its offense untracked. Jones threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Parker Sasser to cut the margin to a single score with 1:33 remaining.
However, Pike County recovered the ensuing onsides kick to dash Trinity’s comeback and send the Wildcats to a first-round exit from the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
“We were confident we could win tonight,” Adair said. “We really started believing after scoring on the first drive. This feels amazing.”
“There is a great football tradition at Pike County. Maybe this will be the turning point to having us regain that tradition,” Holland said.
Pike County faces Bayside Academy in the second round.
Jones finished 23 of 31 passing for 207 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for Trinity. Robert Adams had 11 receptions for 120 yards. Ty Mattox recorded 20 tackles for the Wildcats, and Trace Johnston added 14.