Patriots begin preparations for 2019 season

Published 6:28 pm Friday, August 2, 2019

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots are back on the field preparing for what they hope is a return trip to the postseason.

“It’s always a great time of the year,” said head coach Gene Allen. “You can never beat Friday night lights, but it’s always fun to go out and compete a little bit and see what kind of kids you’ve got.”

After a limited spring practice, the Patriots spent much of their summer either in the weight room or playing in 7-on-7 tournaments, now they are back as one team and ready for practice.

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“You can do so much in the summer now, so we caught up from what we think we lost in the spring,” Allen said. “Baseball is big in Troy so you miss a lot of kids. This is the best time now because we getting most of them back.”

The Patriots competed in various 7-on-7 tournaments this summer in hopes of seeing what their skill players will offer this season.

“We feel like we have a good group of skill guys,” Allen said. “We got some new kids that are still learning and that’s the best time to teach them what we are trying to do. 7-on-7 is good because it gives you a little competition, but it has it’s negatives too, but it’s always good and fun to compete against other people.”

The Patriots finished last season with a 10-1 record and second place in the region standings. After falling to Glenwood in the opening round of the state playoffs, the Patriots were forced to say goodbye to key seniors including Jade Sikes and Max Copeland.

“We lost some great players and some great leaders,” Allen said. “We have a great group of seniors coming back. We don’t have a lot of them, but the ones we got have been good players. They are going to have step up and set the example for the younger kids. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we feel we have experience coming back.”

The Patriots will have a lot of younger players on the both sides of the ball this season. Allen and the coaching staff hopes to use this practice time to get them up to speed before the first game.

“We just want to keep getting better,” Allen said. “We have a lot of young kids that haven’t played. We are doing a lot of fundamental work right now, especially in the first three or four days. Just trying to get the basics down, once we get that down, we can get into shoulder pads and find out a little more about them.”