Ariton hosts Cottage Hill

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Ariton Purple Cats return home this evening to take on Cottage Hill Christian in the second round of the Class 2A State Playoffs.

Through the rain and muck that has become the norm this football season, the Purple Cats hit the practice field this week in hopes of continuing to play their best football of the season.

“I think we are playing our best ball, really in all phases,” said head coach Steven Kilcrease. “Defensively we are playing really well. We held a team (Thorsby) averaging 40 points per game to one score on a kickoff return. Offensively, we have been scoring a lot. Some years it takes a while to find the identity of your team and it has with this team, but I think we sort of have. I feel good about this team. We got a good mixture.”

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In last week’s 41-14 win over Thorsby, the Eagles were forced to keep the ball on the ground, due to poor weather conditions. Bryson Peavy led the way for the Eagles, rushing for 192 yards and had four touchdowns. Daniel Hicks added 69 yards on the ground and also had two touchdowns.

“Here lately we have been running the ball really well,” Kilcrease said. “Bryson is a tough kid. He runs the ball extremely hard. You see on Saturday, they talk about yards after contact. Quite a few yards were after contact. We have several that we feel like we can hand the ball off to. Jackson Blair is a physical runner. Daniel Hicks may not be as physical, but he may be the fastest of the three. They bring something different to the table and they are all really good.”

Peavy and Hicks’ success was made possible by the play of their offensive line.

“Our guys up front dominated that game,” Kilcrease said. “That was the difference.”

The offense will go up against a Warrior defense that has held opponents to less than 10 points five times. All five times occurred in the last seven weeks including a shutout against Goshen in the opening round of the playoffs.

“I know they have a stingy defense,” Kilcrease said. “We saw that last week too. We feel like we do things that you don’t see a whole lot. I think that helps us and the guys take pride in that.”

The Warriors ended the regular season with a 9-1 record with their only loss coming in the final game against St. Lukes. Chris Brazell is a first-year head coach of the Warriors. He took over after Cottage Hill finished last season 3-7.

“They had some games early in the year and they were able to get some confidence,” Kilcrease said. “They have some really good athletes. Their quarterback is athletic as anyone we have seen. We can’t get into a track meet with them. Coach Brazell has done a tremendous job. They are well coached.”

The winner of this contest will take on the winner of Highland Home and LaFayette next Friday night.