• 86°

Down but not out

Pike Liberal Arts School quarterback Josh Starling (14) prepares to take a snap during a football game against Monroe Academy in Troy, Ala., Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Adding Wayne Grant to the coaching staff is only one of a few changes the Patriots will be looking to make over the next several games.

Pike Liberal Arts has three consecutive games against non-region opponents, Ashford, Hooper and Prattville Christian and will be looking for improvement from multiple areas.

For starters, Pike’s defense must stop the big plays. Macon-East beat them up through the air and Monroe pulled away late with long scoring plays in the fourth quarter. The Volunteers scored on a 35-yard pass and a 65-yard run late in the contest.

“We’ve got to work on ourselves,” head coach Steven Kilcrease said. “We can’t give up plays like we have been.”

Pike will also be forced to make a change at the center position. Josh Moore will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ligament in his knee.

The Patriots are already playing without the services Dustin Newman, who is also out for the remainder of the year with a cracked vertebrate.

Grant has been working with the offense the past two days and will call plays Friday night for the Patriots.

Pike is under .500 for the first time since 2007 when they finished 4-7.

PLAS has not visited Ashford Academy since 1999 and have not lost to the Falcons in six consecutive meetings. The Patriots destroyed Ashford 65-7 last season.

The last time Pike lost to a Class 1A opponent was 1998 when Abbeville Christian topped the Patriots, 28-14.

Game time for Pike Liberal Arts and Ashford is set for 7 p.m. in Ashford.