Grant returns as play caller

Published 10:14 pm Monday, September 12, 2011

Pike Liberal Arts will have a new weapon Friday night when they hit the field against Ashford Academy. But he won’t be wearing a helmet and shoulder pads.

Wayne Grant, who won five state championships as Pike County High School’s head coach, will return to the sidelines as the Patriots offensive coordinator.

Grant served in the same capacity in 2009 when Pike won the AISA state crown.

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“Our coaching staff has been stretched really thin,” head coach Steven Kilcrease said. “Our assistants also coach junior varsity so some days it’s just me at practice.”

The new play caller was at practice on Monday preparing for this week’s matchup with Ashford. Kilcrease said he doesn’t feel the change will throw anyone out of rhythm.

“We have used the same numbering system and terminology since he was with us in 2009,” he said. “It should be a smooth transition.

Grant won AHSAA titles at Pike County in 1988, 1989, 2003, 2005, and 2006.

“We talked about him rejoining the team last week,” said Kilcrease. “He, obviously, will be an asset for us.”

Prior to Grant’s return, Kilcrease served as both offensive and defensive coordinator, which in today’s game is unusual.

That along with the assistants limited availability for practice led to the decision.

“Anytime you can have a quality coach like Wayne around the program it makes you better,” Kilcrease said.

During his team’s 2005 and 2006 state championship seasons the Bulldogs averaged 45 points per game.

Grant will join the team at a critical time in the season. Pike is 1-2 overall and in region play. The Patriots play three consecutive non-region games before a crucial contest with Ft. Dale on Oct. 7.

The last time Pike missed the playoffs was in 2006, the year before Kilcrease took over as head coach.