Patriots open at home with Crenshaw

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2005

Fresh on the heels of a season-opening 45-7 drubbing of Dixie Academy, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots begin a two-game home stand with their home opener Friday against Crenshaw Christian Academy.

&uot;Home crowds are great, and the atmosphere is always electric. The seniors have a big opportunity to make a statement,&uot; said Pike head coach Brian Seymore. &uot;And obviously, everyone wants to protect their home turf.&uot;

On paper, the Cougars (0-1) appear to be outmatched after dropping their season opener 33-14 to Eufala.

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But Seymore says his team will not overlook Crenshaw.

&uot;This is a big game we've got coming up against Crenshaw. They're a big, physical team that isn't afraid to hit you,&uot; Seymore said.

&uot;We watched them on film, and they have some real big guys,&uot; said Pike's Chase Avant, one of the stars of last week's game.

But expect the Patriots to meet that physicality head on.

&uot;Our kids expect to play physical,&uot; said Seymore.

&uot;That's something we worked on all off-season. Our strength and conditioning went a long way toward that goal,&uot; he added.

According to Seymore, however, there's a fine line between a physical play and a dirty play.

&uot;It's not about being dirty. We teach our kids to stay within the rules. Don't play dirty, but play football the way it was meant to be played,&uot; said Seymore.

The physicality on the offensive side can be seen in the running game.

Behind a big and experienced offensive line, tailback Sam Sellers imposed his will upon Dixie's defense last week.

Seymore expects the offensive line to be the key factor against Crenshaw.

&uot;I was impressed (last week) with our experienced offensive line and their play. It's on them this week and for the rest of the season, (because) we're putting it on their shoulders to set the pace,&uot; Seymore said.

Sellers will help the offensive line accomplish that if he is close to last week's form.

Sellers made the most of eight carries last week, rushing for

121 yards with three rushing touchdowns and

an 80-yard kickoff return touchdown.

&uot;Last week, we wanted to work on our running game. This week, we need to do a better ball of distributing the ball, though,&uot; said Seymore.

The spread offense will be in more abundance this week, with some new formations being thrown in.

&uot;We're going to show some new wrinkles this week, because that balance is going to be key as the season goes on,&uot; said Seymore.

Seymore will look for his team to reduce its penalties this week after committing 15 against Dixie.

&uot;Chalk them up to fatigue, lack of concentration or whatever, but 15 penalties is just too much,&uot; said Seymore. &uot;If we don't get those down, we're going to be in a lot of trouble down the line.&uot;

Also of note is an injury to sophomore starting middle linebacker Brent Anderson.

Anderson suffered a concussion late in last week's game and will miss Friday's game.

&uot;We've got some depth there, so that shouldn't be a big deal. We just want him to get healthy,&uot; said Seymore.

The Patriots are confident heading into the game because of their athleticism.

&uot;Crenshaw's big and strong, but I think we have a little more speed and we're also physical,&uot; said Avant.