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Patriots blow out Rangers in opener

Lyman Ward Military Academy was held scoreless at home in a 55-0 loss to Pike Liberal Arts School, the No. 1 team in AISA Class 3A.

“There is a lot we can learn from this,” Rangers’ coach Sheldon Ward said after the game.

“We didn’t give up and we kept fighting. We have to keep that up. We have to try getting better week by week.”

The Patriots scored on their opening drive of the game after a Lyman Ward fumble gave them the ball at the opponent’s 42-yard line.

Pike scored two plays later on a 31-yard run by Taylor Stephens.

Luke Labrant converted the extra point to put the visitors up 7-0 with 10:19 left in the first quarter.

Lyman Ward’s Taylor Watkins returned the ensuing kickoff to the 40-yard line. Ranger quarterback Colton McKinley was intercepted two plays later by Martin Meeks.

The Patriots took over in Ranger territory and scored with on a 4-yard completion from Blake Floyd to Ashton Davis. Labrant missed the extra point try and the Patriots led 13-0.

Pike coach Steven Kilcrease said he was happy with how his team performed on offense against the Rangers.

“Overall I was pleased,” Kilcrease said. “All in all, we looked good.”

Three false start penalties helped to stall another Ranger drive later in the first quarter.

Lyman Ward was forced to punt after five plays on offense. Pike took over and scored on a 57-yard pass play from Floyd to tight end Sam Carroll. LaBrant connected on the extra point to extend the Patriots’ lead to 20-0 with 2:45 left in the first quarter.

McKinley was picked off by Floyd on the Lyman Ward’s next possession and Pike took over at its own 39-yard line.

Full back Ben McKeller scored from 23 yards out and LaBrant connected on the extra point to extend the pike lead with 11 seconds remaining in the first.

Lyman Ward punted on its first possession of the second quarter and Pike scored on the ensuing drive with a 17-yard run by Nick McLaughlin. Pike led 33-0 with 10:19 left in the second quarter.

Pike scored on 40-yard run by Evan Strother to close out the first half 40-0. The Patriots scored on their opening drive in the second half on a 35-yard completion from Floyd to McKeller.

Pike converted a two-point play after a mishandled snap on the extra point try. Stephens connected with Kyle Boswell for the conversion.

Pike scored the final points of the game on a six-yard run by Boswell.