Patriots look to take out Knights

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2009

After a bye week, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots will return to action Friday when they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights.

The game will be a rematch of last year’s state semifinal, which the Patriots won 30-7.

“I know they’ve been looking forward to playing us since we put them out last year,” said PLAS head coach Steven Kilcrease. “They’re a good football team. They’ll compete, and they’re real physical on defense. They’re young in some spots, but they’re still a good team.”

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The Knights (2-3) are led by senior quarterback Jeremiah Tullidge, a player that Kilcrease was quick to heap praise upon.

“They’ve got if not the best quarterback in our league, one of the top two in our league,” Kilcrease said. “He’s got a strong arm and throws the ball really well.

Tuscaloosa Academy will make use of Tullidge’s talents, as the Knights operate out of the spread offensively.

“They throw it all over the place,” Kilcrease said. “Tullidge looks to scramble a lot, so we’ve got to contain him. We’ll probably have couple of guys spying him to make sure he doesn’t get away from us.”

On defense, the Knights will attempt to confuse PLAS by showing them a multitude of defensive alignments.

“Defensively, they do a lot of different things,” Kilcrease said. “We’re having to work on two or three different looks they might throw at us. They’ve got some guys that run well from the linebacker position. They’re real aggressive, and we’ll try to take advantage of that.”

Another dangerous element of this week’s game for PLAS is the travel. The Patriots will have a near three-hour drive, the longest such trip of the season for the team.

Kilcrease said it will be important to try and keep the same gameday routine, despite the long trip.

“We don’t like being on the bus that early, but we’ll try and travel early enough so we can get there in time to get off the bus and get some rest and be ready to go,” Kilcrease said. “We’ll try to keep the same routine. We’ll try to eat our pregame meal about the same time as we do every week. We were a good road team last year, and have been so far this year, so we just have to keep it up.”

While the travel could be tough on the Patriots, they should be well-rested. PLAS had a bye last week, which it used to heal from various injuries and sicknesses that had affected the team.

“We’ve gotten probably about as healthy as we’ve been since week one,” Kilcrease said. “It’s a good week to get everybody healthy. We feel as good as we have in a while.”

The rested Patriots will take on Tuscaloosa Academy in Tuscaloosa at 7 p.m. Friday.