Patriots look for increased production as offense gets a tweak

Published 10:57 am Friday, October 5, 2012

The head coach of the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots, Wayne Grant, knew 2012 would be tough year. The Patriots lost 22 seniors off of last year’s team, and only had 17 players on the roster to start the 2012 campaign.

Pike then lost do-everything player Taytom Barnes for the season, just a few weeks in. Barnes was sidelined due to lingering effects of severe dehydration.

The loss of Barnes forced Grant to rework his offense, and move away from the I-formation attack he is known for. The Pats know utilize more of a spread formation that allows quarterback Russ Thomas freedom to make plays with his legs, as well as his arm.

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“We found out last week that we don’t need to pass from the pocket,” said Grant. “When we roll the pocket out it gives him a run/pass option. If he sees nothing but green grass in front of him, we want him to run.”

The Patriots are 1-5 and a run at the playoffs is a distant opportunity. Grant said that the rest of the season will be geared toward preparing the team for next season and beyond.

“The goal for the rest of the season is to continue working hard, get better and learn some things that will help make this program successful,” said Grant. “The boys that are leaving are learning that sometimes in life things will be tough, while the ones that are returning are learning how to play the game, and next season will be better.”

Pike welcomes in the rival Ft. Dale Academy Eagles on Friday night looking to gain wins, momentum and experience as the season winds down.

Ft. Dale brings a lofty No. 9 ranking in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll in to Friday night’s affair, and wants to add a win to their impressive resume.

Grant said that one of the main reasons the Eagles have the high ranking is their quarterback, Chip Taylor.

“They have a real strong quarterback,” Grant said. “He makes good decisions. He reads real well, and they will leave a lineman unblocked in a lot of their schemes and he will read it, and make a play.”