Patriots have momentum on their side for first time in quite a while

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, August 28, 2014

You can look up and down Pike Liberal’s roster, but you won’t find a new name. However make no doubt about it, the Patriots have a new teammate: Big Mo’.

Last Friday’s win over Macon-East Montgomery gave Pike its first victory of the season, and the second in a row dating back to 2013’s season finale. To find the last time Pike won two consecutive games you have to turn back the clock to the final two games of the Steven Kilcrease era in 2011. The Pats downed Lee-Scott Academy and Tuscaloosa Academy in the final two weeks of the season, but missed out on the playoffs.

The new momentum is a helpful additive for the program, said Pike Liberal head coach Gene Allen.

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“We will take a win any time we can get,” Allen said. “Our kids now see the good side of what can happen when you put in the work. We still have things to work on, but the attitude and work ethic of the guys is top notch right now, and hopefully it stays like that.”

For the Pike Liberal players that suffered through the 2012 and 2013, last Friday was a welcome sight. The Patriots finished 3-17 in the last two seasons combined, but quarterback Drew Starling think those days are well in the past.

“All of the guys are excited about playing football again,” Starling said. “Monday at practice everyone was hyped up and ready for a new week. It hasn’t been that way here in a long time. We know that if we work hard each week, we will have a chance to win.”

Pike travels to Hope Hull Friday night in search of its first win over Hooper Academy since 2011. The Patriots have dominated the series in recent memory, winning seven of the 10 games played since the year 2000. However, it is the Colts that have won two straight over the Pats.

After a pair of 5-7 seasons, Hooper relieved Zach Golson of the head coaching duties last year and hired veteran head coach Steve McCord. McCord guided Jemison to the 4A State Championship Game in 1999, but hasn’t served as a head coach since leaving Chilton County in 2007.

In total, McCord is 154-118 in 26 years of coaching.

Allen knows McCord well.

“Steve is old school, just like me,” Allen said. “He is going to use an I-formation, and pound away. We both interviewed for the same job a few years back. He is a great guy and a really good football coach.”

Hooper didn’t play an optional 11th week game, so Friday night’s clash will be the season opener for the Colts.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Davis Henry Field in Hope Hull.