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Ariton hosts Jaguars

The Ariton Purple Cats continued their hot start to the season last week against Geneva County, they hope to remain undefeated in region play Friday when they take on Barbour County.

The Cats (3-1, 2-1) are riding high after picking up their second straight region victory over Geneva County on Friday night.

“We are 2-0 in the region and that is what you play for,” said Purple Cats head coach Steven Kilcrease. “We are excited about that. We talked on Monday before practice about how after we got done with film, that one is gone.

The Purple Cats made it two wins in a row with a win over Geneva County.

“I thought we played well for the most part on Friday night. We saw improvement and that’s the big thing. We saw that they were able to make the adjustment that we talked about at halftime.”

Offense had been hit or miss to begin the season. Over their first three games, the Purple Cats averaged 22 points. In the win over Geneva County they scored 41.

“We were able to run the football,” Kilcrease said. “That took a lot of pressure off our passing game. We threw the ball really well as well. Our line blocked really well, both in the run game and in pass protection. If you do that and you have time to throw it, then we have receivers that can get open.”

Defensively, the Purple Cats continued to improve under Defensive Coordinator Chuck Dunn.

“Coach Dunn made some good adjustments at halftime,” Kilcrease said. “We missed tackles in the first half and we missed assignments. But we corrected those things and played really well.”

Kilcrease is happy with his team’s start.

“It’s better than 0-2 or 1-1,” Kilcrease said. “This time last year, we were sitting 1-1. As long as you stay with a zero in the second column, you control your own destiny. That is where we are. We have to continue to get better.”

The Purple Cats have an opportunity to get their third region win of the season this week when they host Barbour County.

The Jaguars ride into Ariton with a 0-2 record. They have been outscored 95-6 in their first two games, but the Purple Cats won’t take them lightly.

“They are a very athletic football team,” Kilcrease said. “They scare you to death because they have guys that can take it for six from anywhere on the football field. They have a quarterback that does a good job at scrambling. If you relax in the secondary, he is going to burn you because he can throw it 50-60 yards.”

The Jaguars have been a team full of size in the past. This year they have more speed.

“They are not quite as big as last year, but they have some big guys,” Kilcrease said. “They are using some quicker guys, especially off the edge on defense that again can cause problems.”

The Purple Cats defeated the Jaguars last year 34-12. Kick off is set for 7 p.m. at Robert F. Zumstien Stadium in Ariton.