Patriots honored

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

The Pike Liberal Arts School football team was commended Monday for its first winning season in six years.

The Patriot football team was one of several teams and squads honored Monday at the Pike Liberal Arts School fall sports banquet at Cattlemen's Park. The varsity football team finished the season 5-4 to earn a winning season.

"I know I'd like to be 5-4 right now," said Troy State head coach Larry Blakeney, the banquet's guest speaker. "We're 4-5 and trying to get back on that side of it."

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There were many reasons to celebrate for the Patriot faithful Monday. In addition to the football team's success, the varsity cheerleaders celebrated a second straight state championship and the volleyball team celebrated a 10-3 season in only its second year of existence. The volleyball team also made the playoffs with a 4-2 region record.

Blakeney addressed all of the celebrants.

"Whatever you do, have respect for the people who have experience and know and love you," Blakeney said. "That will take you far, no matter what grade you're in or whether you're heading to college or out into life."

The mantra for the Patriot football team on Monday was "champions." While it may seem odd to some for a team that missed the playoffs to consider itself a champion, the Patriot coaches commended the team for its dedication and its ability to come back from adversity.

The Patriots suffered the loss of senior Blake Rountree in the off season and a four-game losing streak during the season, but they made their way to the winner's circle through it all.

"We sent the seniors out as winners, and seniors, you earned it," PLAS head coach Mack Williams said.

After the awards were presented, defensive coordinator Carldon Grant announced his decision to leave the program.

"It's time for me to step aside," Grant said. "I hope I've made some friends who will last me a lifetime, and I plan to come back and see some games next year."