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Patriots aim to settle score with Volunteers

Very rarely does a team get a chance to beat the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots twice in one season.

In fact, since Steven Kilcrease has taken over the football program, that has yet to happen.

And that’s exactly what the Volunteers of Monroe Academy will be looking to accomplish tonight in Monroeville.

But not if the Patriots have anything to say about it.

In a rematch of the week three meeting between the two schools, where PLAS was handed its first road loss and worst loss since the 2007 season, the Patriots will be looking to exact some revenge as they will try to advance to the program’s third state championship game in as many seasons.

“We have been waiting for this game for a long time,” Kilcrease said Thursday afternoon during practice.

“We were hoping to have this opportunity again and in the end, things worked out that way.”

In its first season in AISA AAA Region 1, the Volunteers finished with a perfect record, going 10-0.

During that stretch, Monroe outscored its opponents 431-82 and cruised to a 55-24 win over Tuscaloosa Academy at home last Friday night.

All-time against the Patriots, the Volunteers are 3-0, including two shutouts.

This will be the first time the two have met in the playoffs.

But even though the disappointing loss in Monroe took place in September, it’s still fresh in the Patriots’ minds.

“I think we definitely overlooked them when we first played them,” junior quarterback Blake Floyd said. “I don’t think we were prepared going into the game.

“But that game was a real eye-opener for us and really changed our season around. We wanted to play them again and show what kind of a team we really are.”

Along with the loss, Floyd has another reason to take out the Volunteers after a helmet-to-helmet collision from a Monroe defender took Floyd out with a concussion in the first meeting this season.

“I don’t really remember too much of anything towards the end of that game,” he said. “I definitely am ready to get back there and get a little revenge though. We are going to have to stay composed and focus. We are going to have to all step up and play our best if we want to win.”

Before making the jump to AAA Region 1, Monroe won the state championship in AA Region 2 in 2009, which means two of last season’s champions will be going head to head tonight.

“In my opinion, these are the best two teams in AISA AAA,” the coach said.

“But I have to give Monroe a lot of credit, they are the team to beat right now. They finished undefeated in the season. Teams are going to give them their best shots, just like teams have given us their best shot for the last two seasons.

“I don’t think there is a lot of pressure on our guys though (going into the game),” Kilcrease continued. “Our guys know they are going to have to play hard. We are going up against a team that beat us 35-0 this season. That is something you don’t forget about. We believe we are a good team and have played well recently, now, it’s time to show it.”

As far as where the game will be played, the coach said he expects Monroe to be rocking tonight.

“Monroe has a great high school football atmosphere,” Kilcrease said. “They go all out.

“But playing there before is something that I think will be a big benefactor for us – we know what’s coming.

“They are going to have all of their fans ready, and we are going to bring a good bit of our fans down there. It’s going to be a lot of fun (Friday night) and I know our guys will be ready. They are prepared and focused. We have watched a lot of film on Monroe this week, and like I said, this is the game we have been waiting for.”