Patriots selected to play in national all-star game

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots will be well-represented at the National Athletic Association of Private Schools (NAAPS) All-Star Game in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

PLAS officials announced during Friday night’s football game against Lee-Scott that quarterback Jade Sikes, running back Cody Hollis and linebacker Max Copeland have been named NAAPS All-American and have received invitations to play in the all-star game on January 5 at GP Stadium in Gatlinburg.

“It’s always good to see them get honored,” said head coach Gene Allen. “It’s good any time they get attention like this. It makes us all feel good and it makes the school look good.”

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Cody Hollis has been a key member in the Patriots back field so far this season. He is looking forward to the opportunity in January.

“It means everything,” Hollis said. “We are the first three from this school to be chosen. It’s a great feeling.”

“It’s real special to be selected nationwide as an all-American,” Sikes said. “We get to play in front of a bunch of coaches.”

They will get the opportunity to play with some of the nation’s best players.

“It is really cool – we get to play with some of the best players in the nation,” Copeland said. “We get to compete on a stage that we really aren’t use to. We get to see how our skills stack up.”

Sikes will be able to show off his running and throwing ability to a national audience.

“It will be nice having coaches look directly at us instead of not having much idea of what we can do,” Sikes said.

The state champion Patriot baseball team was awarded the NAAPS National Championship in the spring, now the school is on the map nationally once again.

“It’s really special,” Copeland said. “We already won a national championship from this same organization so it’s really putting Pike on the map nationally as well as statewide. It’s really bringing recognition to our school.”

The players won’t be alone in Gatlinburg. Head coach Gene Allen, along with defensive coaches Robert Rollan and Will Austin will join the three players in the game.

“It’s always an honor to coach in a game like that,” Allen said.  “It will be a lot of fun. There will be a lot of talent up there so we are looking forward to see what everyone’s got. It’s a big deal seeing these guys play.”

The coaches will be a welcome addition to Copeland and the rest of the players.

“That’s awesome,” Copeland said. “When I first learned that I was going to be on the team I didn’t know coach Allen, coach Rollan and coach Will were coming with. When I found out, I was pretty excited. It will help knowing what they are going to run. It should be fun.”

When asked what coach was going to have the most fun on the trip, both Sikes and Copeland said coach Rollan.

Kickoff will be at 1:00 CT on January 5 and can be seen on Sling TV.