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Ariton hosts Leroy in second round of state playoffs

The Ariton Purple Cats have an opportunity to do something the program hasn’t done since November of 1993. Play in the third round of the state playoffs. To do that they will have to defeat Leroy, who knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

Head coach Steven Kilcrease in his second year at the helm at Ariton. In his two years, Kilcrease has resurrected a program that missed out on the playoffs for six straight years from 2009 through 2014.

On Friday they have an opportunity to do something that no Ariton player has done since 1993.

“It’s a big deal,” Kilcrease said. “I heard one the players say when was the last time Ariton football practiced on November 13.”

They will be going up against a Leroy team that is used to playing football this time of year. Their last championship came in 2010 and they have made the post season in three out of the last four years.

“They have a good football team and that has something to do with it,” Kilcrease said. “They have stepped up and made big plays against teams out of region. Clarke County a 3A school team that is ranked second. They beat a 5A Citronelle so they played a tough schedule.”

The Bears have had success defensively over their last four games, three of which came in the regular season. Before allowing 20 points last week to Elba, the Bears allowed a total of 18 points in the final three weeks of the regular season.

“They are very similar to us,” Kilcrease said. “They fly to the football. They pursue to the football and tackle well. Those little things are huge. They have a lot of team speed over there. It showed last week in the game against Elba. Everybody has struggled getting outside of them.”

On offense, the Bears offensive unit has a lot of weapons.

“Their running back is only a ninth grader but he is very good,” Kilcrease said. “He loves to run between the tackles. It starts with the offensive line, in particular their two guards and center. They are probably the best we have seen.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Robert F. Zumstien Stadium.