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Pike Lib hosts SMCA for scrimmage

Sports Editor

Pike Liberal Arts School head football coach Mack Williams is big on mottos.

There’s the popular, "a winner never quits and a quitter never wins," which is brushed across Williams’ chalkboard in his office.

Another is a saying popularized by the University of Alabama’s Dennis Franchione; "discipline is something you do for someone not something you do to someone."

A personally inscribed photograph of Paul "Bear" Bryant sits atop a file cabinet. It bears, (forgive the pun), witness to the seemingly endless number of football players who barrage Williams’ office with questions prior to a Monday afternoon practice session.

"Coach, I need a mouth piece," asked one player.

"Coach, you got any tape?" asked another.

Between phone calls, Williams did his best to answer his players. Then he headed to the practice field himself.

Pike started its first day of fall practice on Thursday, Aug. 1. Friday night, the Patriots will host South Montgomery County Academy for a scrimmage at 5 p.m. That’s followed by a Fall Jamboree on Aug. 23, also at Patriots Stadium, with Lee-Scott, Morgan and Hooper Academy all coming to Troy.

PLAS’s first game is at home on Aug. 30 with Crenshaw Christian.

Williams said he didn’t put too much stock into preseason scrimmages when he was head coach at Dixie Academy. He was always big on strength and conditioning, bringing that same philosophy to Pike when he took over as head coach last season.

"My biggest thing was two-a-day practices," Williams said, referring to preseason training at Dixie. "We practiced within. We didn’t do all of this stuff."

He really got into the idea of holding practice games against other teams during his two-year stay at Lowndes Academy. He continued it at Pike Lib.

"One thing, we’re trying to build a program here at Pike," he said. "Coming in, with all the seniors, new coaches…having to learn everything from scratch, I think it benefited us last year. It benefited me the two years I was at Lowndes. The reason it’s so important this year is that we have so many new positions to fill."

One year ago, Williams came to Troy with a full cupboard of seniors; a class of 16 strong. But although the Patriots had experience at the skill and trench positions, having to learn a new offensive system and insufficient depth along the front lines doomed Pike to a 3-8 record.

Williams said the seniors will be missed, but he feels that this season the Patriots may be stronger from top to bottom.

One reason is because of an off season workout regiment implemented by the head coach as soon as he took the job.

"There’s been a big change, a big change," said Williams. "These kids have paid the price. They have worked all year long. We started the day after football season last year, weight training and all. I think it’s really going to pay off for us. Even though we’re going to be young, they’re going to be mentally tougher, physically stronger and they’re going to be in shape."

Another reason is the support Williams and the entire athletic program has received from the PLAS parents, teachers and students.

"There’s been a lot of encouragement…just a lot of good things happening at Pike," he said. "The cheerleaders did great and won state this year. We’re behind them and they’re behind us. There’s just a lot more optimism and those type things. Of course we’re going to have to do it when it comes time and go out there and play these other schools. We’re going to have to be on fire and go at it, all-out. But the excitement is good and the participation’s great."