Patriots host familiar foe on Friday night

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2001

Sports Writer

Pike Liberal Arts School head football coach Mack Williams and the Patriots won’t have to search for much motivation for Friday’s regular-season finale with Dixie Academy at Patriot Stadium.

The game will be the last for 14 seniors, it’s Homecoming and the rivals will be battling for bragging rights for the 2001 season.

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The Patriots upset the Rebels last year, a thrilling, 40-28 come-from-behind win highlighted by Layton Sanders’ 232 yards passing and four touchdowns. And Williams, in his first year at PLAS, is no stranger to the rivalry. Williams spent 12 seasons roaming the sidelines as head coach at Dixie and knows what’s at stake.

"There’s just a lot riding on this game. This will be my third season being away from down there, also went down there and played them last year from Lowndes and ended up knocking them out of the playoffs. I’m sure they’re going to have all that adding up on the sleeve."

Williams thinks the Patriots need a repeat performance from last week, as PLAS handed the Hooper Academy Colts a 34-8 loss. Timely offense and a defense that forced four turnovers and held the Colts to 159 total yards will be needed against a Rebel team that is looking for revenge.

"On offense, you’re going to have to take care of the ball, execute, when you get down there in the redzone, you’re going to have to put the ball in the endzone. We can’t make mistakes, we have to take care of the ball and I feel like field position is going to be a big factor."

Williams said the defense especially will have to play well.

"They’ve got two big running backs and they’re tough kids, Deon and Dustin Foster. They’ve got a good quarterback, Zak Knight, they’ve got some good skill position folks."

Williams hopes to end the season on a two-game winning streak to not only build momentum for next year, but also to send the 14 seniors out on a winning note.

"That’s what I challenged them on, the kids seem to be excited. It sure would be nice to go out a winner this year because we’ve had some tough losses. I want these seniors to leave feeling like they’ve accomplished something because we certainly have worked hard enough to accomplish something."