Game day: Patriots kick off the season against kingwood

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 18, 2017

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots kick off the 2017 football season this evening when they host the Kingwood Christian Lions.

“I think they are ready to start hitting someone else,” said head coach Gene Allen. “I think they are ready for (tonight).”

After a summer full of fundamentals, the Patriots entered game week and began imputing their scheme and game plan for the Lions.

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“We had a good week of practice,” Allen said. “We had some really good looks. I think if we execute like we have been doing we will be fine.”

The Patriots have only played Kingwood twice, winning both of them. In their last meeting way back in 2003, the Patriots defeated the Lions 54-0.

The Lions come into this game with a brand new coach in Todd Bradford, leaving Allen wondering what to expect out of Kingwood.

“We talked and we exchanged a little bit, but I’m sure he didn’t tell me a lot,” Allen said. “We have been working everything. We run a lot of different formations. I heard what he ran in Lowndes a few years ago so we try to line up in some of that.”

The Patriots hope to replicate last season’s start when they began 3-0. Even though it’s a non-region game, the  Patriots expect to start the season strong.

“We want to win. If we are keeping score, we are going to try and win it,” Allen said. “At the same time, we know we are going to make some first-game mistakes. It’s kind of like a jamboree except it counts. We are going to come out and do it the way that it’s supposed to be done.”

Offensively, senior quarterback Reed Jinright is ready for his final opening-day game.

“It’s my last first home game and there are going to be a lot of people here,” Jinright said. “There’s always a big hype around the first game. Everybody wants to come out and see what kind of team you have. I am expecting a big crowd and we are expecting to show out for them.”

The Patriots are spreading the field out a little more.

“We changed our offense a little bit,” Jinright said. “We are going to use our speed in a good way. We plan on hurting the defense laterally and sideline to sideline.”

On defense, Max Copeland and his teammates are ready to hit someone else.

“We are excited; we’re tired of hitting each other,” Copeland said. “We are ready to hit somebody in a different-colored jersey. Just like any other first game, we want to set the tone for the rest of the year.”

With BJ Burke up front and Copeland and Jackson Koenning in the middle, Copeland believes his team has the weapons on defense.

“The defense can be as good as we want it to be,” Copeland said. “We just have to come out every day and be physical. We have tons of talent on defense. I think we could be the best defense in AISA.”

Kickoff between the Lions and Patriots is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“You always want to win whether it’s the beginning, the middle or the end,” Copeland said. “It’s important to get off too a good start to build confidence as we go into our region games.”