Kilcrease pleased despite loss

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Friday night didn’t go as planned for head coach Steven Kilcrease and Ariton, falling 24-10 to Goshen, but Kilcrease his pleased with his team’s 1-1 start heading into region play.

Before hosting rival Goshen the Purple Cats opened up the season on the road against McKenzie winning 42-6 now they turn their sites to region foe Cottonwood.

“I like how our schedule is set up,” Kilcrease said. “We played two good football teams to start the season to allow us to get ready and see what we need to work on to get ready for region play this week.”

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The season started off on a high note against the 1A Tigers.

“McKenzie is down a little bit this year,” Kilcrease said. “I thought our guys played well in that game.”

Goshen came into Friday night’s game as the popular pick to win their region in 2017 and Kilcrease knew the challenge that awaited his players.

“We knew going into the Goshen game we had to play really well to have a chance to beat them,” Kilcrease said. “We did, early on especially. I thought for the most part we played really well.”

Ariton was up 7-6 late in the first half before allowing a late Eagle touchdown in the final minute.

“That was a big turning point in the game,” Kilcrease said. “We were playing well. They have a very good football team. They are coached well and very athletic. We knew it was going to be a test. We came out and turn the ball over to begin the second half and the wheels came off.”

The Purple Cats turned the ball over four times in the second half against the Eagles.

“You don’t have a chance to beat a team like Goshen turning the ball over like that,” Kilcrease said. “Its tough enough as it is.”

Even with the loss the Purple Cats are looking forward to the start of region play this week and Kilcrease is still excited about Ariton’s potentioal.

“I like our team,” Kilcrease said. “I think we have a chance to be a pretty good football team but we have to keep working and keep getting better.

“We need to fix our mistakes. I am believer in figuring out your weaknesses and making them your strengths. That’s what we have to do.”

Offensively the Purple Cats have shown improvement over the first two weeks led by sophomore quarterback Maddux Herring. The sophomore has helped lead the Cats to 26 points per game over the first two weeks.

“We have had some interceptions but we have thrown the ball well,” Kilcrease said. “Maddox is off to a good start. The pic six we had the kid made a great play on. We didn’t block very well on Friday night but part of that is because they are very good on defense. We couldn’t really run the football as well as we wanted to and that is something that we have to work on.”

Defensively the Purple Cats have done a good job at getting to the football.

“We have been getting to the football and swarming to the football,” Kilcrease said. “Other than a few possessions our defense played really well Friday night.”

This week Cottonwood is on the schedule.

“They are  much improved,” Kilcrease said. “They have a lot of good athletes. They have some big guys on offense and they are throwing the ball more than they did last year. They have a good football team and different than they were last year.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night in Ariton.