Ariton hosts Chickasaw

Published 7:12 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Playoff football is here and after a week off, the Ariton Purple Cats are ready for a run at a state championship.

The journey for the Purple Cats begins at home against the Chickasaw Chieftains on Friday night in the opening round of the Class 2A State Playoffs.

The Purple Cats last played on October 25 against Cottonwood. Since then, Steven Kilcrease and the Purple Cats have gotten back to the basics.

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“Weather sort of messed us up last week and we had to go inside for a couple of days, but we still had a good week,” Kilcrease said. “We introduced Chickasaw in the latter part of the week. We have had a good couple weeks of practice.”

This time of the year, injuries play a factor. After being pretty banged up down the stretch of the regular season, this extra week allowed the Purple Cats to heal up.

“We are pretty healthy,” Kilcrease said. “For the most part, we will have everybody back other than the guys that have been out for the year. We are full go at it.”

The Purple Cats have made it to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. They are not new to the playoffs scene and for that reason, the coaching staff is treating it like just like any other game.

“During our region games, we treated it like the playoffs,” Kilcrease said. “We are trying to keep it the same. We have a routine that we are trying to stick with. They know it’s a big game. I think this will be our toughest first round game since I have been here. They know that. We watched film on them. They are ready to play them.”

Chickasaw finished the regular season as the fourth seed from Region 1. They finished the regular season 6-3 and were 4-3 in region play.

“They should at least be the three seed,” Kilcrease said. “They’re athletic and big up front on both sides of the ball. They have a running back that has played the last two games and he is a difference maker. It’s a tough matchup and our kids know that. We have to do our thing and be the more physical team. Our kids believe and that’s what we need to do.”

Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night at Robert F. Zumstien Stadium in Ariton.