Patriots ready to tame Hooper Colts

Published 1:37 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

Morgan Faulkner and the Hooper Academy Colts invade Delaney Kervin Stadium on the heels of a 43-2 dismantling of the Kingwood Christian Lions last week, but the Pike Liberal Patriots are ready for their region opener against Hooper.

“Our guys have been focused all week and they know that the first region game is the most important,” PLAS head coach Steven Kilcrease said.

The No. 6-ranked Patriots (1-0) are also coming off an impressive win. The Patriots took down then No. 4-ranked Morgan Academy 23-7 Aug. 29 in their season opener. Kilcrease said the win was a big one, but he knows the task of shutting down Faulkner, Hooper’s bruising tailback, will not be an easy one.

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“Their running back is a big guy and he is only a sophomore, but this is his second year starting,” Kilcrease said. “And they are huge up in front of him. But our guys know that it is the same story as last week. We will have to win the battle up front.”

Pike held Morgan to 182 yards total offense, while compiling 348 yards of offense. Morgan gained 51 of their yards on one play, their only score of the game.

A key moment in the Morgan game showed Kilcrease that his team was different this year.

“We turned the ball over going in last week and what happened next was probably the biggest aspect of that game,” he said. “We did not put our heads down and give up. We got the safety and went ahead and put the game away with a touchdown on the next drive. In the past our guys would have wanted to quit after the turnover and I was proud they did not give up when we turned it over.”

That killer instinct will have to be present against Hooper (1-1) this week, Kilcrease said.

“It was good to get the win against Morgan in the opener, but this one right here is the important one,” Kilcrease said. “We don’t need to worry about anything else but this game right now. But I am not worried about their focus because any time you talk playoffs around these guys, you see their attention quickly hone in on Hooper.”

Having the region opener on the home turf of Dewight Ward Field at Delaney Kervin Stadium does not hurt either.

“Not having the travel aspect in the first region game is great,” Kilcrease said. “We can keep the same routine and that is huge for us. We are just ready to get region play started.”

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in Troy.