Patriots drop regional opener to Northside

Published 11:17 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots could not keep pace with the bigger Northside Knights Friday night, falling 30-13 in the team’s regional opener at home.

The Knights set the tone for the game in their first drive, sticking mostly to the ground game on a methodical 63-yard drive in which they never faced a third down. The Knights rattled off several runs longer than 10 yards before punching in a short touchdown run to take an 8-0 lead.

After forcing the Patriots to turn the ball over on downs, the Knights again ran the gamut on the Patriots, with a 34-yard run springing a 74-yard drive touchdown drive to wrap up the first quarter scoring at 16-0.

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Once again, the Northside defense stopped the Patriots and, thanks in part to a 55-yard run, scored another quick touchdown to put the Knights up 22-0 just two minutes into the second quarter.

The Patriots looked to find a spark on the next Northside drive, forcing a fumble and taking over near midfield. However, Pike would fumble the ball just two plays later.

The Patriots finally got on the scoreboard on their next possession, with Chip Faircloth catching a screen pass from Drew Nelson and racing 56 yards for paydirt.

The Knights crept within scoring distance once again, but were unable to find the end zone before time ran out in the half, leaving the score at 22-7 at halftime.

The Patriots crowd erupted when Northside fumbled the opening play of the third quarter at their own 23-yard-line.

Cade Renfroe got the Patriots closer with a 14-yard reception and Drew Nelson finished out the drive on a quarterback sneak into the end zone to bring the score to 22-13.

The Knights came our and drove down the field once again, churning down the field to the Patriots 6-yard-line before coughing up the ball.

The Patriots could not advance the ball and Northside once again reached the brink of scoring before fumbling again at the Patriots 2-yard-line.

Pike then switched up the gameplan and began connecting through the air. Marching down the filed to the Northside 30 before  throwing four straight incompletions and turning the ball over on downs with about six minutes left in the game.

The Knights tacked on an extra touchdown before the clock ran out, finishing the score out at 30-13.

Head coach Gene Allen addressed his players after the game about being more physical and coming out of the gate with heart and effort.

Allen said he was proud of the way his team played the second half, but that the team has a lot of improvements to make.

“Northside is big and they’re a good football team; they have an outstanding line and they ran it down our throats,” Allen said. “We have to not feel sorry for ourselves. We’re playing a lot of younger guys right now, so they’re getting experience, but we’ve got to try to get experience in a win. I was proud of our kids in the second half; we wore down but we didn’t quit.”