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PLAS football prepares for upcoming fall season

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriot football team is in the midst of their summer schedule and is working hard preparing for the fall season that is quickly approaching.

While most kids are enjoying the summer months by relaxing and getting some sun, the Patriots are busy in the work room and on the field.

Since the beginning of June, head coach Gene Allen and the Patriots have hit the weight room and the field three days a week in preparation for the 2015 football season.

“We are doing a lot of strength work,” Allen said. “We start at about seven in the morning and work hard until about 8:30 a.m. for our varsity guys. We are just getting ready for them to get going. We have a lot of kids that play both offense and defense, so we are trying to get them into shape.”

Running and strength work are some of the things that Allen and his coaching staff have mainly been focusing on over the last month.

Even though the summer is filled with workouts and drills, it doesn’t mean the summer doesn’t also bring competition. After taking a week off for the holiday, starting next week the Patriots will be participating in seven-on-seven competitions at practice a few days a week.

The seven-on-seven drills allow both the offense and defense to work on coverages without both the offensive and defensive lines being involved.

“The seven-on-seven drill is really good,” Allen said. “It allows the defensive backs the opportunity to work on different types of coverages. I think it’s really good for the offensive side. They are able to work on timing and the quarterback reads. They have a great chance to work on that without worrying about getting hit.”

The competition for his players is what Allen looks forward to the most when it comes to these seven-on-seven drills.

“Any chance you can go out there and compete is a good thing,” Allen said. “It gets your kids in the mindset that they have to go out there and try to win the battle. It gets really competitive when you get to play against another team.”

The Patriots plan on using these games to prepare for the regular season, even if that means running a zone defense, a defense that is rarely used in seven-on-seven.

After practicing for a couple weeks on the drills, Pike Lib will host three or four teams in a seven-on-seven tournament on July 16.

Pike Lib entered this summer in hopes of improving on last season’s record.

“We are feeling really good about it,” Allen said. “We have some really good skill guys. Our offensive line still needs time to develop. We lost a few three-year starters from there. We were able to play a lot of different players last year, so they got to see some playing time.”

During the summer the Patriots will emphasize the importance of winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.

“I am an old school coach that believes that battles are won in the trenches,” Allen said. “We really need to work on our offensive and defensive line.”

The Patriots are just under two months shy from the start of their season. They open up with Macon-East Montgomery Academy on Aug. 21.