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Patriots put first win behind them, look ahead to Friday

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots won game one of the Mario White era last Friday night, but it’s been business as usual leading into Friday night’s game against region foe Hooper.

Head coach Mario White and the Patriots celebrated on the field after their 42-12 win over Crenshaw Christian. Beginning on Saturday the Patriots got back to work.

“We went back to work,” White said. “As soon as the game was over, we talked about it and believe it or not we probably had our best week of practice.”

The Patriots entered the season with plenty of new faces; both in the coaching staff and on the field, but despite plenty of question marks coach White was confident in his team’s ability heading into last week’s game.

“We went to work knowing that we’re going to compete every single day,” White said. “We took that attitude all summer long. The outcome on Friday night was a by-product of all the hard work we put in. It’s how we expect to play.”

The Patriot offense struggled to get many points in the opening half, scoring just seven points. The Patriots turned things around in the second half and outscored the Cougars 35-6.

“We had two touchdowns called back and two first downs called back,” White said. “We got into halftime and I challenged the players. I told them that Crenshaw wanted it more. I told them to do their jobs and not worry about other people’s jobs, coaches included. When that happened we all got on the same page and you saw what happened.”

The Patriots finished the game with 267 yards of total offense. Senior wide receiver Elijah Caldwell was responsible for 160 of those yards on Friday. The senior had 132 receiving yards to go along with 28 yards on the ground. The senior also scored two touchdowns.

“Elijah Caldwell is one the quietest kids you will ever meet, but one of the best kids,” White said. “He comes from a great family, John and Mrs. Angela have done a great job of raising him. He had an ankle injury last year, but has done a great job coming off that. He got in the weight room this summer and is now an explosive kid. This couldn’t have happened to a better kid. I was really proud of him.”

This week the Patriots shift their attention to their regional opener on Friday night against 1-1 Hooper.

“From what I have seen on film they play to the whistle, they fly around and they gang tackle,” White said. “They are based out of a 5-2 and they bring a lot of pressure (defensively). They had a good game plan against team a lot like us. Offensively, they get into the Double Wing T.”

White believes defensive coach Robert Rollan will have the defense ready to play.

“I think he will have those guys hungry and flying to the ball,” White said. “Kameron Baker has been an outstanding leader on defense as well as Peyton Dix, who had a monster week of practice after a monster game. Those young men have the defense ready to play.”

The Colts lost to Edgewood Academy, 27-0 last Friday. They defeated Coosa Valley Academy in week one, 45-6.