Ariton streaks into bye week

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Ariton Purple Cats streak into their bye week with three straight wins, putting them at the top of the Class 2A Region 2 standings.

The Purple Cats enter their bye week 4-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play after knocking off Barbour County 45-20 Friday night.

“I thought our kids came out in the first quarter and did what we asked of them,” said head coach Steven Kilcrease. “They put the game away early. We scored about every way imaginable.”

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Kilcrease said he was looking for a strong start by his team.

“We thought going in that we were the better team – not to knock Barbour County at all,” Kilcrease said. “We preached all week that good teams don’t mess around; they go in and put away the team early. That’s the first time that I have seen them do that since I got here.”

The win secures a share of the top spot in the region alongside the Abbeville Yellow Jackets, giving Ariton some momentum heading into the bye week.

“It’s big,” Kilcrease said. “Our number one goal is to win the region. We had a big win against Geneva County and the game against Barbour County was just as important. To be 3-0 was a goal. Splitting up our season, we had five games and a bye week. (Our goal) was to be undefeated in the region.”

The Purple Cats will have three region games left coming off their bye week and all three will be against teams that are currently sitting in the top three in the standings.

“We have to take it one game at a time,” Kilcrease said. “We know we have some very good teams left on our schedule.”

After falling to Goshen in week two, Ariton has rattled off three wins in a row and is playing with a lot of momentum, but the bye week is a welcomed sight for a time with several injuries.

“We have a few guys banged up,” Kilcrease said. “We held a couple of them out on Friday night to basically give them two weeks to heal themselves. From that aspect, I think it’s a positive. You can also look at it from the other side. We had some momentum going and now we have an off week thrown in there.”

Ariton will have a big challenge awaiting them when they return to action against two-time defending region champion G.W. Long.

During the bye week, Ariton will return to the basics and work on fundamentals. Next week, they will shift their attention to G.W. Long.

“We are working on us,” Kilcrease said. “We are working on fundamentals and making ourselves better. The entire week is on us. At the end of the week, we will sort of talk G.W. Long. But right now, it’s strictly us.”

With their hot start, the Purple Cats have ratcheted up the excitement level in the Ariton community.

“There are people that had kids years ago that are excited,” Kilcrease said. “I had quite a few come up and say that they were excited about this football team and the potential that they have. We have a small community that is like a big family and we feel like we are all pulling together.”