New QBs lead Pike against EscambiaPublished 11:01pm Thursday, October 3, 2013
What has already been a difficult season for the Pike Patriots will become even tougher this Friday night when the Patriots take on the Escambia Academy Cougars without starting quarterback Rush Hixon who has been lost for the season with a torn labrum.
Coach Gene Allen said that two players will attempt to replicate the offense that Hixon has provided. “We’ve had Brian [Adams] and Drew [Starling] taking some reps at quarterback for us,” Allen said. “They both do a good job of what we like on offense.”
Allen said that both players will see playing time at quarterback against the Cougars. “Brian does a little bit better job throwing the ball, but they both do a good job,” Allen said. “Drew is a little better at sprint outs and moving in the pocket. Brian has been favoring his ankle all week.”
Adams has seen game action in Pike’s last two match ups against Lakeside and Macon-East in relief of Hixon. Adams led scoring drives in each game and connected with Hixon on a touchdown pass against Macon-East.
While Starling has not seen any playing time at quarterback this season, Allen said that Starling has been receiving reps at quarterback in practice all season.
Hixon is not the only Patriot dealing with injury issues this week. Allen said that his team is currently missing three starters due to injury. “We’re just beat up right now. We’ve got a lot of guys hurt, but we have a few guys who are going to try and go this week who didn’t play last week.”
The Cougars are a team who has given the Patriots fits in the past. In fact, in four all-time meetings, the Pike has never beaten Escambia. Coach Allen is optimistic, however, that his team will compete on Friday night. “Escambia is a real well-coached team,” Allen said. “They are real big up front. It’s going to be a physical game.”
Allen also said that his team has a few surprises to unleash against the Cougars. “We have a few things we’ve been working on in practice that we haven’t used in games,” Allen said. “Now that we’re in region play, we won’t hold anything back.”
The game is a must-win for the Patriots. Pike enters the game at 1-4 on the season and are winless in region play. A loss to Escambia essentially knocks the Patriots out of the playoffs.
Allen said that his team is not looking ahead however. “We’re just trying to keep on doing what we’re doing,” Allen said. “We need to avoid turnovers on offense and big plays on defense.”
Last year, Escambia beat Pike 39-3 in Canoe. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night in Troy.