Patriots ground Fort Dale

Published 1:48 pm Monday, September 15, 2008

GREENVILLE — After not rushing once in the first three quarters of play against No. 2-ranked Fort Dale Friday night, Pike Liberal senior Douglas Hawkins toted the rock six times on the Patriots’ first possession in the fourth quarter, as the No. 5-ranked Patriots upset Fort Dale 22-16 in Greenville.

None of his runs were bigger than the fake punt run for five yards that kept the Pike (3-0, 2-0 AISA Class AAA, Region 1) drive alive as they were hanging on to a 13-9 lead.

“It was definitely not a planned play,” Hawkins said. “I caught the ball, went to kick it and my first check was to check the end and he was flying past me. I just pulled it down and went for the first. I was not going to be denied.”

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Pike Liberal head coach Steven Kilcrease said he was proud of his senior for seeing the opening.

“We give Douglas the go ahead if he sees it,” Kilcrease said. “If he sees an opening he goes and we were on the sideline yelling for him to go and it worked out. That was great.”

The play was just one of many turning points to come in the game.

Following the fourth down conversion junior quarterback Trey Walters connected with senior wide receiver Bradley Floyd down the right sideline for a 21-yard completion to the Fort Dale 18 yard line. Hawkins took the ball to the 12 yard line two plays later.

Senior tailback Jerel Foster battled his way to the seven yard line, losing the ball on a fumble after a second effort, setting the Eagles up on their own four yard line.

On the next play, Fort Dale quarterback Dustin Till fumbled the snap and fell on the ball in the end zone for a safety and a 15-9 Pike lead.

Foster wasted no time, scampering 56 yards for his second touchdown of the evening on the next play to give Pike a 22-9 lead after a true PAT from Hawkins with 4:39 to go in the game. But he was only thinking of one thing on his trip to the end zone

“I was thinking about state the whole way,” Foster said. “I have to start by giving all the praise to my offensive line. I want to thank them for doing such a good job tonight.”

The Pike offensive line paved the way for Foster to the tune of 143 yards and two scores on 19 carries after being held to 26 yards on nine carries in the first half of play. The Patriots as a team rushed for 261 yards on the ground.

The Pike defense held Fort Dale (2-1, 1-1) to just 58 yards rushing and 160 total offensive yards. Pike held highly touted runners David Nolan and Jeffery Stead to a combined 85 yards on the ground.

“That is the biggest win we have had since I have been here,” Kilcrease said.

Senior linebacker Corey Goodson had to agree with Kilcrease.

“This was a big, big win for us,” Goodson said. “But on the defensive side of things we have to give all the credit to the defensive line because they keep the offensive line off of us out there.”

Goodson and junior linebacker Will Starling led the team with nine tackles apiece. Hawkins chipped in 8.5 tackles and freshman Nick McLaughlin had seven tackles.

The Eagles answered Pike’s final scoring drive by going 80 yards for a score to cut the Pike lead to 22-16.

Till led Fort Dale down the field, hitting on passes of 13, 36, 12 and 12 yards before punching the ball in the end zone from five yards out with 1:09 showing on the clock.

The ensuing onside kick failed and Pike ran the clock out to seal the victory.

Walters opened the scoring with a 65-yard touchdown run off the end with 6:11 to play in the first quarter. Hawkins hit the PAT and Pike had a 7-0 lead.

The Pike quarterback finished with 83 yards on seven carries in the game and was 2-for-6 for 46 yards. Both completions were to Floyd.

After a punt by Fort Dale’s Eli Blackmon backed Pike to their own four yard line a snap out of the end zone resulted in a safety and two points for Fort Dale. Neither offense was firing on all cylinders and the teams entered the half with Pike leading 7-2.

The Patriots trailed for the first time in the 2008 season early in the third quarter following a one-yard touchdown run from Stead. The PAT put Fort Dale up 9-7 with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter.

“We got down for the first time this year and I was worried how our guys would respond,” Kilcrease said. “It this was last year we would have hung out heads and given up, but I was proud of how our guys kept fighting and pulled out the win.”

The Patriots were driving, but a Nolan interception set Fort Dale up at their own 25 yard line. Pike forced a three and out and Foster went 44 yards to pay dirt on the first play from scrimmage for the Patriots. Hawkins missed the PAT and Pike had a 13-9 lead with 2:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Goodson then mishit the kickoff and Pike recovered at the Fort Dale 44 yard line.

“That was the best miss Corey will ever have on a kickoff,” Kilcrease said. The teams swapped possessions until Hawkins’ fourth down conversion.

The Patriots hit the road for the second straight week for a region battle with Glenwood next Friday beginning at 7 p.m.