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Ariton hopes to snap streak

The Ariton Purple Cats had an extra week to stew and prepare for their daunting matchup with perennial power G.W. Long on Friday night.

The Cats entered the bye week with a 4-1 record after they won three straight games against Cottonwood, Geneva County and Barbour County. During their off week, the Cats got back to working on fundamentals.

“We had a good week,” said head coach Steven Kilcrease. “We spent the majority of the week working on us. Trying to get better and correct some things that needed correcting.”

After starting the season 4-1, naturally there have been more positives than negatives during the first half of the season. With that said, there were some things that Kilcrease and the Purple Cats had to address during their off week.

“We spent time scouting and we spent a lot of time looking back at the first five games,” Kilcrease said. “(We worked on) Fundamentals and blocking better. Not only up front, but with certain things that we like to do that we are not very good at. We spent a lot of time working on that. We spent a lot of time tackling, takeaways and pursuit.”

With the Rebels looming, the Purple Cats began late last week and have carried it over to this week.

“We introduced game plan towards the end of the week,” Kilcrease said. “We got their film on Friday night and made a few changes.”

The Rebels are having an uncharacteristically poor start to their season, having started 1-3.

Even with the poor start, Kilcrease and the Purple Cats know what type of team they will be going up against. The Rebels have defeated the Purple Cats in eight straight games dating back to 2009 and have done so by an average of 35 points.

Heading into this season, the Rebels hadn’t lost a regular season game since 2013.

“They have a good football team,” Kilcrease said. “Their record says 1-3, but I’m telling you they are a very good 1-3 football team. They have had our number. They beat us eight years in a row and beat us soundly. We know they are going to be ready to play.”

The Purple Cats feel like they are also ready to go.

“You hate in some aspects to have an off week because we won three straight,” Kilcrease said. “Our guys spent a lot of time watching film last week on us, but also on them. They are excited and ready to play.”

Including Friday night’s game, the Purple Cats have three more region games remaining. With a 3-0 record in the region, they are currently tied for first with Abbeville who is also 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the region. Kilcrease believes a win on Friday night could catapult his team to bigger and brighter things later in the year.

“We have been down here for three or four years,” Kilcrease said. “To me, you need that program-building win; that game against a team that you haven’t beaten. You need that to catapult you forward. This is a big game.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday night at Rebel Stadium in Skipperville.