Patriots deal with injuries heading into Hooper game

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

It has been a year in which little went right for the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots, but head coach Gene Allen says there is no reason to focus on the negatives when there are still so many good things happening around the Patriot program.

“All the kids have great attitudes,” Allen said. “All they do is work hard. We’ve got some kids playing with broken hands and chipped bones. It seems like everyone has strains and sprains.”

The Patriots were knocked out of the AISA playoff race with their defeat to Fort Dale last Friday, but Allen said that he was proud of the way his team competed. “We knew going into the game that Fort Dale was going to be tough to beat,” Allen said. “But we went down there and played pretty well offensively. We just couldn’t finish drives. I thought we played very well in the second half. We had a lot of young guys playing out there. Almost the whole defense was underclassmen.”

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Every team deals with injuries, but the Patriots seem to be especially prone to the injury bug this year. “It’s one of the things you have to deal with in football,” Allen said. “Everyone is banged up at this time of the year, but this is the worst year I have ever seen in my career. We have eight or nine guys who didn’t dress out last game. Some of them will try to play this week, but they’re still pretty hurt.”

Allen also said that the bad luck with injuries has shown the character of his team. “Every kid who’s hurt wants to be out there to play,” Allen said. “They don’t want to be out, but they haven’t been cleared by doctors yet.”

There has been a silver lining to the injury woes for the Patriots. With so many starters out, younger players have picked up valuable game experience. “We’re having to play a lot of young kids,” Allen said. “That hurts us right now, but it helps us in the future.”

The gameplan against Hooper is simple. “We’re focusing on finishing drives and not turning the ball over,” Allen said. “We’ll try to make strides as a team and put people in position to make plays. Hooper is still in the playoff hunt, so they’ll be motivated.”

Hooper enters the contest at 3-5 on the season with a 1-3 region record. A win against Pike will put them in the playoffs.

Pike has had a tough year and is currently 1-7 with an 0-3 region record.

Last year, the Hooper Colts beat the Patriots 48-9 in Hope Hull.

The Patriots will search for a little payback this year back home in Troy.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.