Patriots look to get season on track against Macon-East a day early

Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pike Liberal Arts had a short turnaround to prepare for tonight’s game against Macon-East Academy. The Patriots fell to Lakeside 33-14 last Friday, and had one less day of preparation for this week’s game.

PLAS jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead early on, but couldn’t seal the deal and saw the Chiefs score 33 unanswered points to close the game and give the Pats their third loss of the season.

“We jumped up on the quick with 14 big ones,” said head coach Wayne Grant. “Then we began to make mistakes, and we just couldn’t get them stopped before it was too late.”

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Despite the loss last week, Pike practiced with quite a bit of energy and enthusiasm on Wednesday afternoon.

Grant said the players were a “little more fired up” than usual, and hopes the energy carries over to the game.

“We need to have that energy for the full four quarters,” said Grant.

Macon-East brings a 3-1 record in to Thursday’s game and a potent offense that is averaging 40 points a game.

“They have a wide open offense, but they will get in that wing T quite a bit,” said Grant. “They like to run a lot of traps and buck sweeps and we will have to tackle well all night.”

Grant said that playing “assignment football” will be key for the Pats to upset Macon-East.

“Each person has to play their assignment,” said Grant. “When someone doesn’t, that’s what creates gaps and holes. If we don’t play our assignments and tackle well they will have some big plays and we will have a long night.”

Pike Liberal will be forced to play the rest of the 2012 season without utility player Taytom Barnes. Barnes is suffering from complications with severe dehydration and is done for the year.

With Barnes out of the lineup, Grant and staff have turned to quarterback Russ Thomas to pick up the slack. Thomas had a monster game against Lakeside, throwing for a TD and returning a punt for a score.

Grant said the team will have to change up their offense a bit to deal with the loss of Barnes.

“We have to go away from the I-formation,” said Grant. “We just simply don’t have the type of back needed for that offense. We are going to work more out of a one back and four wide set.”

Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m. at Dewight Ward Field.