PLAS falls to Monroe, 28-0 (PHOTO GALLERY)

Published 11:24 pm Friday, September 5, 2014




Friday’s 28-0 loss to Monroe Academy was a tough one for the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots, but head football coach Gene Allen told his players to keep their heads up.

“We get to play next week,” Allen said. “This wasn’t playoff’s. We aren’t going home. We’ve got a chance to play again.”

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The Volunteers were able to keep momentum high during the game as they scored twice in both the second and third quarters. The Patriots had six penalty calls in the first half and lost five playing yards during their time of possession, mainly from offside calls against the Patriots. The Patriots also gave up 15 yards to the Volunteers after a pass interference call. Allen said the Volunteers were able to capitalize on the Patriots’ penalties during the game.

“Penalties will kill you offensively,” Allen said. “It stops drives. It gets your timing off. It makes changes in plays, and makes you do some stuff. Defensively we can’t afford to keep them on the field. We made some penalties that gave Monroe the first down, and we can’t afford to do that. We’ve got to get off the field.”

Patriots quarterback Drew Starling passed for just over 100 yards during the game. Counterpart to Starling, No. 3 Marquise Christian said he knew the team would have to rely on their pass game.

“I knew we weren’t going to be able to run the ball,” Christian said. “They have good defensive linemen. I just had to catch the ball. I told him ‘throw it into my back shoulder, and I’ll catch it.’”

During the first quarter, No. 2 Rush Hixon made an astounding catch off a pass from Starling while surrounded by several Volunteer defenders for a key first down.

“It was just a little trick play we put in,” Allen said. “Rush is a good athlete, good competitor. He does a great job, and loves to play the game. He’s going to make some big plays.”

Offensive lineman CJ Allen was among the team leaders with seven tackles during the game. Coach Allen said while the defense wasn’t as strong as he liked, he was proud of the effort that was put into the game.

“We did some good things,” Allen said. “We did a lot of good things. We just didn’t capitalize on them.”

While the officials called heat time outs regularly throughout the game, Allen said both teams were facing the same heat and he did not feel the heat had impacted his players as much as it could have. “It’s hot, but it was hot for both teams,” Allen said. “I thought we did pretty well. I don’t think we had anybody cramp up. I know we had some that got a little tired, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

The Patriots, now 1-1 will travel to Selma to face the Morgan Academy Senators next Friday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Allen said the Patriots are looking forward to next Friday’s game. “We played hard, and we’ll continue to play hard,” Allen said. “It’s a long season. It’s early in the year. I know our guys want to do well, so we’re looking to get better. We’ve just got to get better up front, offensively and defensively. We’ve got to play a little tougher. We’ve got to protect the ball and not get those penalties to keep drives going. The mental part of the game, we’ve got to get better.”