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Patriots continue to put in the work

The Pike Liberal Arts football team is either in the weight room or on the field running on a daily basis. For former strength and conditioning coach Mario White, it’s music to his ears.

Although he would ultimately prefer being on the field for fulltime workouts, White has enjoyed his time in the weight room and so far is pleased with what he has seen.

“I’m very pleased with where we are right now,” White said. “We’ve been hitting it really hard.”

The Patriots have split their workouts into three different groups: Peewee, eighth and ninth graders and varsity. While summer workouts may be the norm for the older players, a lot of the younger players are getting a taste of it for the first time.

“They are learning a new system,” White said. “What I learned at Tuscaloosa Academy was in order to make the program right you have to start from the ground up. We are very basic with those guys. We are doing a little more, then a little more. It’s been a natural aggression. It’s been going really well.”

The Peewee players have been working alongside the varsity players. White hopes the relationships that are being forged this summer will transition into the fall.

“Every single varsity player is going to work with the peewee players,” White said. “On Friday nights it would be kind of cool for those guys to see what is going on.”

The varsity program entered the summer with a new-looking roster. The new faces on the roster have brought a lot of excitement to a program that missed the postseason last season for the first time since 2015.

“Excitement level is high,” White said. “These guys had a down year here last year. A lot of these guys who came in had a down year last year. Guys have been on lockdown with the coronavirus. This is something new in town. There have been some good programs in Pike County. The pride of football is back in the city and everyone is excited.”

When White arrived on campus after coaching at Tuscaloosa Academy, excitement from around the county began to grow. Word of mouth has played a factor in getting new players into the program.

“There has been a lot of word of mouth going on with all this excitement,” White said. “Once that happens kids are kids. They are going to talk to one another.”

The returning players to Pike have been more than welcoming according to White.

“These kids at Pike have loved everything we have done,” White said. “With the new kids coming in, it’s been one big family. These kids care for one another and work well together.”

The Patriots are still taking things one day at a time when it comes to scheduling for­­ the rest of the summer. Until they hear other wise, the Patriots will keep their schedule as is.

“I want to make sure we are doing things right,” White said. “I have been waiting for the governing body to give me the go ahead and then we will move ahead to the next step.”