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Ariton hosts GCHS

The Ariton Purple Cats have finished their tough opening slate of non-regional games and now turn their sights to region play beginning with Geneva County this Friday night.

The Purple Cats (1-1) opened up their 2018 season against two top-10 teams in Dale County and Goshen in hopes of preparing themselves to defend their region title.

“We scheduled those to hopefully prepare us for the region,” said head coach Steven Kilcrease. “We knew what we were getting into when we scheduled it. Obviously we wish were 2-0, but it wasn’t about that; it was about getting us better and ready for region play.”

Last Friday night the Purple Cats not only had to battle the Goshen Eagles, but the elements.

Ariton battled a driving rainstorm that soaked Eagles Stadium for much of the first half and walked away with a 29-6 win.

“It was a good physical ball game and (Goshen) pounded it in there,” Kilcrease said. “I thought our guys responded well to adversity. Our quarterback went down and we kept battling. I was very proud of the guys.”

Starting quarterback Maddux Herring left the game with an ankle sprain. Instead of risking further injury, Kilcrease elected to go with Bryson Peavy under center.

“He could have played, but given the conditions and the fact that we were up 22-0 at the time, I really didn’t want to chance that,” Kilcrease said. “He could have toughed it out and played.”

Peavy filled in and scored two touchdowns for the Purple Cats.

“He is one of our players who we feel like we need to get the ball to,” Kilcrease said. “You have to feel good about yourselves when you put the ball in his and Jackson Blair’s hands in a game like that – a physical and wet game. They are going to take care of the ball.”

This week the Purple Cats take on a Bulldogs team that is coming off a 47-22 loss to Geneva.

“It’s a tough game this week with Geneva County,” Kilcrease said. “They are always a physical team with some good athletes.”

The Eagle secondary will have their hands full against some lengthy receivers.

“They have tall – really tall – receivers outside,” Kilcrease said. “We’re pretty good at corner, but we are 5’ 9”. We have to have some safety help and we have to put some pressure on the quarterback. That’s a big challenge. We haven’t seen receivers like that this year. That concerns us.”

On defense, the Bulldogs have allowed a combined 80 points in the first two games.

“They fly to the ball on defense,” Kilcrease said. “They are an odd-front defense. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Ariton