Ariton picks up big win after 0-2 start to the season

Published 6:49 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

It was just the second game of the regular season, but Ariton head coach Steven Kilcrease called last Friday night’s game against Geneva County a must-win game.

The Purple Cats racked up over 600 yards of total offense and picked up that all important win, defeating Geneva County 54-49.

“It was sort of a must-win for us for a lot of reasons,” Kilcrease said. “Obviously, it was our first region game against a very scary Geneva County team. Also, it was for the mindset of the kids, starting the way we did. I felt like we let the first one get away from us, and as as good as Goshen is, we had our chances there. We knew we were close and that we have been playing well.”

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The Purple Cats allowed two touchdowns on returned kickoffs and Geneva County also won the field possession battle for much of the evening. Ariton entered the game knowing they had to control the run game on defense against a formidable running back. They did just that by holding Geneva County’s back to 61 yards rushing.

“Coach Dunn had a great plan going in,” Kilcrease said. “The kids executed well on that side of the ball. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage. Defensively, we controlled the running back.”

Quarterback Maddux Herring threw for over 300 yards and rushed for over 200 yards in the win.

“He had the game of his life,” Kilcrease said. “I am so proud of him. He was a warrior for us on Friday night.”

Hayes Floyd had approximately 180 yards receiving with a couple of touchdowns.

Health played a factor in the contest. The Purple Cats had two starters that were previously held out the lineup, but returned to action on Friday.

Despite the 0-2 start to the regular season, the true important games of season come within the region. Entering Friday night, the Purple Cats had all seven of them left on the schedule. With more weight on the region schedule, Kilcrease and the coaching staff treated last Friday like an early postseason game.

“I went in on Monday morning and told them we need to treat it like it’s the playoffs,” Kilcrease said. “This is the game that gets us there and we need it. Last year against them (Geneva County), we got up big and let it get away from us. We couldn’t do that this year. It was huge, you want to start 1-0 against a quality team. It was a very good win for us.”

Region play will continue for the Purple Cats over the next two weeks. They will host Houston County this Friday night before hosting Daleville next week.

“This one this week is a huge game,” Kilcrease said. “Houston County is a young team, a lot of athletes on the field. They have gotten off to a rough start, but they have a good team. They have guys that can take it to the house on every play. We have to sort of manufacture a little. We have had some big plays, but that’s not us. This is a big game for us. It’s home and we need to take care of those and then we will worry about the next one.”