Stiff-arming the competition

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2010

By all accounts, it appears the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots are ready for the start of the regular season.

If there were any doubters, all they have to do is look at how the team played against Crenshaw Christian in the jamboree last Friday night at PLAS.

In the exhibition, the Patriots cruised to a 26-0 score after two quarters of play before finishing things up with a 48-8 win.

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Now, it is time for the regular season and the first team up for the defending AISA AAA Region 1 state champions is newcomer to the region, Lyman Ward Military Academy.

“I really don’t know that much about them,” PLAS head coach Steven Kilcrease said Tuesday afternoon at the team’s practice.

“We have some film of their games from last year, but that was last year. With a military school, you never know what to prepare for from week to week, much less year to year, so we are going into the game preparing for everything imaginable.”

Kilcrease said he has seen the Rangers run the several different offenses, including the Wing-T, the Wishbone and the spread.

On the defense, the military academy has been known to run several different defenses including the 50, the 40 and the 3-3, according to the coach.

“It’s tough to prepare for a team like (Lyman Ward),” Kilcrease said.

“But we have been throwing different things, both offensively and defensively, at the players for the past couple weeks to get ready for a team like this.”

The Patriots will be taking on a Rangers team who will be looking to show what it can do in its new region.

Last season, in AISA A, the team finished with a 1-8 record. In the Ranger’s exhibition match last week, the team played host to Meadow Christian and was handed a loss in the exhibition matchup, losing 35-17.

One of the main objectives of the PLAS defensive strategy will be to shutdown Lyman Ward running back, DeWayne Pritchett.

The junior rushed 505 yards in 2009 and added 289 reception yards on 20 catches.

“He is definitely a speedster,” the coach said.

“We are going to have to try to slow him down by getting him out in space and stopping him before he can get anything going.”

Colton McKinnley, who is a transfer from Prattville, will be starting under center for Lyman Ward.

Defensively, linebacker Jake Archer will be looking shut down the Patriots while Pritchett, McKinnley and Dylan McMullen will combine for a strong Ranger secondary.

As for the PLAS quarterback situation, Kilcrease said the type of game plan used in the jamboree would be the same for Friday night’s game. Juniors Blake Floyd, Josh Starling and Nick McLaughlin will all be splitting time under center for the Patriots.

“All three have done a great job for us and worked extremely hard along the way,” the coach said.

“This is not going to be a three-quarterback system. I feel like each of the guys can help contribute (as the quarterback) and also at other positions for us.

“We are going to see how the game goes,” Kilcrease added.

In the jamboree, Floyd was the only quarterback to complete as pass, as he finished 2-2 for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Starling and McLaughlin both finished 0-1.