Playoff time: Patriots begin postseason against Glenwood

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

Playoff football has arrived and the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots hope to kick it off with a win over Glenwood on Friday night.

The Patriots finished off the regular season with a 10-1 record and a second-place finish in Region 1. Now the slate is wiped clean as the Patriots get set to begin postseason play for the third consecutive season.

The Patriots have battled an injury and illness bug throughout the week, but it’s still been a productive week.

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“Everybody is excited,” said head coach Gene Allen. “We had a little sickness this week so we had to move some stuff around and work some different combinations. Other than that, it’s been a pretty good week. The kids have adapted well. We are just trying to get everything ready for Glenwood.”

The Patriots began the season with a 9-0 record before hosting Monroe Academy for the region championship. Following a 28-0 loss, the Patriots rebounded to win their final two games including a 28-21 win over Lakeside in the regular season finale last week.

“I thought we played fairly well,” Allen said. “I thought we played much better in the second half offensively. We kind of had a couple hiccups defensively that kind of frustrated us a little bit. Overall, I wasn’t too disappointed.”

The Patriots are hoping to make it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season. To do that, they will need to get by a Glenwood team that finished in third place in Region 2 this year. The Gators finished the season with a 4-6 overall record and are coming off a 61-14 loss to Autauga in the regular season finale.

“They have a good football team,” Allen said. “They started the year out a little slow. The last few weeks they have played a lot better. They started running the ball a little more than they did at the beginning of the year. Their line is relatively big. They have won three out of their last four. They are doing some good things right.”

By virtue of a second-place finish in the region, the Patriots get to spend week one of the playoffs at home. The Patriots have a 5-1 record at home this season.

“We have had good crowds on the road, but our crowds at home have been great, Allen said. “If our student section can get up like they have been getting up this year, our players will feed off that,” Allen said. “It’s always great to play at home when you have everybody there supporting you.”

With the playoffs ramping up, a key for the Patriots will be limiting turnovers.

“The big thing will be protecting the ball,” Allen said. “At this point of the year everyone has a good football team. This time of the year the winner is usually the ones who can block and tackle the best and protect the ball, so we have to continue to do that.”

The Patriots defeated Gators last season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.