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Patriots learn a lot in warmup game against Bessemer

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots may have fallen to Bessemer last Friday night, but the experience the preseason game gave the team was invaluable.

The Patriots scored their lone touchdown on a goal line run by Kameron Baker, but the Rebels knocked of Pike Liberal Arts 14-7.

“It was a great experience,” said head coach Mario White. “There were a lot of things the coaching staff could have done, communication wise, and there were a lot of things the guys could have done differently. It was a good high school football game. It was a great experience for everyone.”

The Patriots took on  a Bessemer team that has made an appearance in the AISA State Championship in each of the last seven years and winning three of them.

“It was good for our kids to see that they can play against that type of competition,” White said. “It was good for our new guys to see how it is in private school ball.”

The Patriots are welcoming in a large group of new players, many of whom are getting their first taste of private school football. After one preseason game, many of the new players enjoyed the experience.

“The perception is not really what it is,” White said. “What a better way to kick things off , and they could see that Bessemer is a lot like us.”

The Patriots were able to use the time on Friday night to fine tune things leading up to their season opener against Crenshaw Christian at the end of the month. Communication was the biggest struggle for the Patriots, something that White takes full responsibility for.

“You can tell it was a seasoned staff going up against a first year staff,” White said. “A lot of that falls on me. I have to do a better job at communicating with coaches, but the guys competed really hard. It’s time to flush that game. We took a lot of positives from it.”

The Patriots’ offense totaled 320 yards of total offense on Friday, 114 yards came through the air by quarterback Mayes White. White led the Patriots ground attack by rushing for 131 yards on 16 carries.

The Patriots’ season opening game against Freeport in Florida was canceled.  They now will open their season on August 28 in Troy.

“Our sole focus now is  Crenshaw Christian,” White said. “They have a legendary coach and he is going to have his guys ready to play. We are going to compete everyday like it’s our last day. With  COVID-19 you never know when the season could end.”