Pike Liberal routed by Lee-Scott Academy in home opener

Published 12:22 am Saturday, September 7, 2013

By Jeb Sharp

Pike Liberal Arts fell 41-14 to the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors Friday night at DeWight Ward Field.

The Warriors were led by a strong performance from running back Thomas DeGrange. DeGrange ran for 219 yards on 10 carries and recorded four touchdowns on the night.

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Lee-Scott attacked the Patriot defense early marching 62 yards before DeGrange punched the ball in from the Patriot goal line. After the defense forced a quick three-and-out, the Warrior offense picked up where it left off with DeGrange scoring two plays later on a 67-yard sweep.

Down 14-0, it looked like it would be a long night for the Patriots, but quarterback Rush Hixon provided a spark that temporarily swung momentum in the Patriot’s favor.

On third and two from the Lee-Scott 43, Hixon stepped back to pass but was flushed out of the pocket. Rolling to his left, he found receiver Cameron Crowe wide open for the first touchdown of the Patriot season.

“I was flushed out of the pocket and had to scramble. I saw that the coverage broke down and Cameron was wide open. All that was going through my mind was to get the ball out there and let Cameron make a play” Hixon said.

On Lee-Scott’s next drive, the Patriot defense produced a turnover when Marquese Christian intercepted Warrior quarterback Jeremy Joseph.

It looked like the Patriots were gaining control of the game, but a false start penalty on a fourth and one sapped all the momentum from the Patriots and forced Pike to punt the ball away. On the ensuing punt, a fumbled snap recovered by Lee-Scott gave the Warriors the ball on the Patriot 34.

The Warriors would make the Patriots pay two plays later when quarterback Jeremy Joseph found Tristan Knight for a 31-yard touchdown reception to make the score 20-7.

The Patriots moved the ball into Lee-Scott territory on their next position, but they failed to convert a fourth-and-one from the Warrior 38.

Coach Gene Allen noted the Patriots’ inability to get out of their own way. “We need to stop stopping our own drives,”Allen said. “We need to play more disciplined. We would have a good drive going, but then we’d have a procedure penalty or a bad snap, and it would kill the drive.”

Once again, the Warriors capitalized with DeGrange scoring his third touchdown of the night on a 10 yard run.

The Warriors would score one final touchdown before halftime. DeGrange scampered through the Patriot secondary on route to a 63-yard touchdown.

Coming out of halftime, the Patriots looked to be moving the ball well until defensive lineman Chandler Scott intercepted a screen pass and returned it 50 yards for another Warrior touchdown, putting the game out of reach for the Patriots.

Pike moved the ball more efficiently in the second half, and, in the fourth quarter, running back Marquese Christian ran for a 45-yard touchdown to make the score 41-14.

The Lee-Scott offense then ran out the rest of the fourth quarter to end the game.

Despite the loss, Coach Gene Allen saw encouraging signs from his team.

“Tonight, we played tougher up front,”Allen said. “We were more physical and gave more effort on defense.”

Allen is now looking ahead to next week’s game against Lyman Ward.

“We’re going to work on getting better. We are still a young team, and we’re playing a lot of sophomore’s out there.”

Pike hosts Lyman Ward next Friday for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Delaney Kervin. Last year, the Patriots beat Lyman Ward 32-8 for their only win of the season.