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Patriots look for depth in jamboree

The road to another state championship begins now for the Patriots of Pike Liberal Arts.

While the team has put in hours upon hours in the weight room and on the practice field, it has yet to put its skills up against an opponent not attending PLAS – until now.

On Friday, the Patriots will play host to their first opponent of the year, Crenshaw Christian Academy in a preseason jamboree.

The jamboree will consist of four quarters, each 12 minutes in length.

Going into the matchup, head coach Steven Kilcrease wants to give everyone playing time to build depth and give some of the less experienced players some much needed time in game situations.

But there is a big question on every Patriot fan’s mind going into the game – who is going to be the starting quarterback?

Going into training camp, Kilcrease had juniors Josh Starling, Blake Floyd and Nick McLaughlin all taking equal amount of the snaps during practice.

As the team hits the field on Friday, the head coach will be taking the same approach.

“They all are going to get the same amount of playing time,” he said. “And they all are going to be getting reps with the first team offense.

“This game is about seeing how the players do in game situations and that is exactly what I want to see with these three.”

As far as the Patriots’ opponent, Kilcrease said he expects a good fight from the Cougars come Friday night.

“They are a well coached ball team. They run the Wing-T offense and do a good job at spreading the ball around. And on defense, they are going to blitz a lot.”

Last season, the Montgomery academy finished 11-2 on the season, falling in the AISA A Region 1 state championship game to Patrician Academy.

“This is not going to be an easy game for us,” Kilcrease said.

“Crenshaw always has a pretty good team and they have a lot of people coming back this season.”

Even though, in the end, the game will not count as a win or a loss for PLAS, what the team could get out of it is just as important in the coach’s eyes.

“With a school our size and a team with 30 players, everyone has to play both sides of the ball,” the coach said. “It’s very important that we have depth.

“(An exhibition) like this really helps us see where we are as a team before the season but also helps us get players ready to go, so when they step into a game situation they know what they are doing.”

The two teams will meet at PLAS Friday night, with the jamboree beginning at 7 p.m.