‘Work cut out’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Following a dramatic win over region rival Lee-Scott Academy, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots will look to avoid a letdown when they take on the Bessemer Academy Rebels Friday night in Troy.

The Patriots (5-1, 3-1) will be hard-pressed to overlook Bessemer, as the Rebels come into the game sporting a 5-2 record and are tied for first place in the AISA’s Class AAA Region II.

Head coach Steven Kilcrease said the Rebels’ athleticism will present the Patriots with some problems.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“They’re the most athletic team we’ll see all year,” Kilcrease said. “They’re really, really fast. We’ve just got to do a good job of containing those guys. We’ve got to keep them bottled up and be physical with them.”

The Rebels look to use their athleticism by lining up in a spread formation. However, the spread that Bessemer runs is not a pass-first offense.

“They run the ball out of that most of the time,” Kilcrease said. “They’ll bring some guys in motion and try to get it to them on speed sweeps and things of that nature. Our defense has its work cut out for it.”

The Rebels will also try to confuse the Patriot offense by lining up in a 3-4 alignment on defense.

However, there are things that PLAS can do to try and force the Rebels to shift their defense.

“When we get in double tight ends, it will be a five-man front in the 5-2,” Kilcrease said.

“We’ve seen in practice from each other, and we’ve seen it in the games we’ve had, so at this point, it’s just a matter of executing what we want to do.”

For the Patriots, they will look to carry over some of the momentum from last week’s thrilling 29-21 win over Lee-Scott, which featured a go-ahead field goal from tanner Grant with just six seconds left.

The Patriots then recovered a fumbled kickoff and returned it for a touchdown to provide the game’s final points.

“It was a huge win,” Kilcrease said.

“The way it happened was big. It’s been a while since Pike has beaten them, and with it being a region game, it helps us because the region is wide open right now.”

While the Patriots may have plenty of momentum heading into the game with Bessemer, the Patriots have had to deal with a different schedule this week.

PLAS is currently on its fall break, something Kilcrease said has been tough to deal with.

“The main thing is you don’t know what the kids are doing,” Kilcrease said. But, we’ve had a pretty good week so far, considering being out of school kind of throws off your routine.”

For the coaches, the week off from school may actually be an advantage.

“As far as coaching, it does give you more time to prepare for the next opponent,” Kilcrease said.

“I think our guys have come with a good attitude, and been ready to work.”

The Patriots hope that work will pay off Friday when they take on Bessemer at 7 p.m. in Troy.