Patriots get back to winning ways

Published 11:24 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

Looking for a bounce back performance on senior night, Pike Liberal Arts School hosted regional opponent Success Unlimited Academy on Friday night and escaped with a 7-6 victory.

After being shutout last week, it took Pike Lib nine minutes to find the end zone against the Mustangs but were stymied the rest of the way.

On the Patriots second offensive possession of the game, a 23 yard run by Chip Faircloth set up a three yard touchdown run by quarterback Jade Sikes to give Pike Lib a 7-0 lead.

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Success’ first pair of drives produced only one first down, but its third drive moved into Patriot territory thanks to the legs of quarterback Jamari Smith. Nothing came of the possession, though, as penalties stalled the Mustangs early in the second quarter.

Pike Lib had two chances of extending its lead before the half but failed both times. A missed 39 yard field goal ended one long drive while a holding call and sack ended another.

The Mustangs held the total yardage advantage at halftime 133-118 thanks to 112 rushing yards by Smith but seven penalties contributed to its scoreless half.

Faircloth led the Patriots with 50 rushing yards while Sikes added 38 in the first half.

The third quarter was filled with a string of calamities from both sides that ultimately resulted in another scoreless quarter.

The second half began with a failed onside kick by Success but the Patriots squandered the field position and punted away.

After a successful fake punt from their own endzone, the Mustangs fumbled the ball away near midfield. Pike Lib then fumbled on the very next play, allowing the Success offense to retake the field.

The Mustangs moved into Pike Lib territory but Smith threw a deep interception and the Patriots took over inside its own 10 yard line.

As the quarter came to an end, Pike Lib put a cap on the quarter with a -9 yard punt and placed Success at the one yard line.

A penalty and tackle for loss later, Smith scrambled into the endzone from 12 yards out for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. A failed two point conversion left Pike Lib in the lead, 7-6.

It wasn’t long before the Mustangs were driving again, but Patriot defensive back Cody Hollis picked off a pass at the one yard line inside five minutes left in the game.

A false start set the Patriots back just 18 inches from its own goal line but a 14 yard quarterback power by Sikes pulled Pike Lib from danger. A series of first downs courtesy of the legs of Sikes melted the clock away and put an end to the game.

Sikes led the Patriots with 84 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries while his team totaled 200 total yards on the ground.

Smith had 172 rushing yards for the Mustangs, 81.9 percent of Success’ rushing yards.

“(Success) came out ready to play more than we did,” Pike Lib head coach Gene Allen said following the game. “They have a heck of a football team, they’ve been getting better each week. We were fortunate to come away with the win in the end.”

Pike Lib will go on the road next week, where they are undefeated, to take Lakeside.