Pike Liberal Arts faces Ashford for homecoming in final game of year

Published 12:25 pm Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten weeks ago, spirits were high on the campus on Pike Liberal Arts School. The Patriots captured a state title just three years ago, and were prepping for the 2012 season with a new coach.

The coach, Wayne Grant, is a legend in the public school ranks of Alabama, capturing five state titles just down the road in Brundidge at Pike County.

Grant and his thirteen varsity players have had rough go of it this season, and will wind out the year at home tonight at Delaney Kervin Stadium in Troy against Ashford Academy. While the wins haven’t come as often as the team would like, Grant said the boys are learning things that will help them in the future.

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“This group of seniors is learning that things will be tough at times,” said Grant. “The guys that come back next year are learning how to play the game the right way.”

The Patriots welcome back running back Taytom Barnes to the lineup for his final career start. Barnes sat out six games during the middle of the season due to effects from heat exhaustion.

Barnes will be in the same backfield as quarterback Russ Thomas, something that Grant feels will help Pike Liberal try to get its second win of the season Friday night.

“With both Taytom and Russ out there, the defense can’t key on one person,” said Grant. “They have to prepare for Taytom’s power, but keep Russ’ abilities in their mind as well.”

Pike Liberal supporters will see a familiar face across the field, coaching the Falcons. Mack Williams is in his second season as Ashford Academy head coach. Williams served as head coach of Pike Liberal from 2001-03.

Homecomings festivities will be held at halftime. Kickoff for the final game of the year for the Patriots is set for 7 p.m.