Williams knows tough test awaits PLAS Patriots at Fort Dale

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2001

Sports Writer

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots begin a new era this Friday night under head coach Mack Williams as they square off against Fort Dale Academy in Greenville.

Coach Williams is no stranger to Fort Dale’s football program.

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"I’m accustomed to them from coaching at Lowndes Academy the last two years," Williams said. "They lost some good seniors, but they will still dress some 60-plus kids."

The Patriots will dress out around 30 players, but only 20 of them are upperclassmen.

Senior quarterback Layton Sanders will lead the Patriots’ offense against a Fort Dale team that finished the season with a 9-4 record last year.

"Layton has been doing really well at practice," Williams said. "Drew Kilpatrick will get a considerable amount of playing time Friday night also. We need both of them to contribute."

Besides the quarterback position the Patriots also return a lot of talent to this year’s team at the running back and receiver positions and they should combine to form a potent offense.Williams said that the Patriots are going into the season with an optimistic attitude and an open mind.

"I feel like it’s time to play. Last week we scrimmaged against Morgan Academy and Lowdnes Academy. We came up a little short on the scoreboard, but I saw a lot of bright spots. We’re very optimistic," Williams said.

During the preseason scrimmage last week the Patriots faced a Morgan Academy team that went 13-0 last season, winning the state championship, and outscoring their opponents by almost 20 points a game.

According to Coach Williams, Fort Dale also is a talented team, with a good defense and a quarterback that likes to scramble out of the pocket.

"We’re going to have to play every play like it’s the only play. That’s the only way that you can win," Williams said.

The Patriots will be looking to its veteran players to carry most of the load, but Coach Williams said that he couldn’t emphasize enough how important the second-string players are.

"Fort Dale is deeper than us as far as depth is concerned, but I think that we’ll do fine." Williams said. "It’s all according to how much those kids at the back-up roll contribute."

The Patriots, who scored just over 15 points a game last year, will try to crank up their offense and improve on last year’s 2-8 record. The kickoff for the Patriots’ season opener is set for 7:30 in Greenville.