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Patriots host Macon East in a battle of the unbeaten

After three weeks on the road, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots return home this evening to take on rival Macon East.

“It’s always great to play in front of the home crowd,” said head coach Gene Allen. “With it being this big of a game, I expect to have a really big crowd. We look forward to it.”

The Patriots (4-0) are coming off a 45-17 win over Northside Methodist in the region opener last week, despite a slow start.

“It didn’t start off very well,” Allen said. “We let them drive it down the field and score on us and then we went three-and-out, so we didn’t start off very well. We scored on the next five possessions in the first half, so we started playing like we are supposed to be playing.”

Coach Allen attributes the slow starts to the Patriots taking some time to get acclimated to their opponents.

“It’s more or less about sitting out there trying to figure out what they are doing,” Allen said.

This week’s game is a rivalry game between the Patriots and the Knights, even though they haven’t played since 2014. This year’s game adds some extra incentive – the teams now share a region and they both enter the game with an undefeated record.

“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that this is the game of the year, so far,” Allen said. “It’s a big rivalry and a big region game. They are a good football team and we are a good football team. It just makes the game that much more exciting.”
The Knights have averaged 47 points over their first three games this season.

“They have some really good skill guys and they do a really good job,” Allen said “They have some big-play tendencies. They score on a lot of big plays and they score a lot of points. We just have to stop the big plays and we are going to have to tackle well.”

The Patriots offense isn’t far behind them. In the last two games, the Patriots have averaged 43 points. They entered the season with three quarterbacks, Jade Sikes, Drew Nelson and Davis Allen. With four games under their belt, the Patriots are still using a rotation at quarterback that includes both Sikes and Nelson.

“We have some kids that can make plays also,” Allen said. “Jade runs the ball really well, but he has been throwing really well the last few weeks also. When you can take him and put him at receiver and bring Drew in, your receiving core gets a little better also. Jade can catch it and take it to the house. It’s a good thing to have two quarterbacks that can play.”