Patriots play for a spot in the championship

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots will play for their second consecutive berth in the AISA State Championship game on Friday night when they host Glenwood in the Class 3A semifinals.

The Patriots defeated Clarke Prep in convincing fashion last week, 55-0. Now they will play a familiar foe in Glenwood with a berth in the championship on the line.

“We are as ready as we’re going to get,” head coach Mario White said. “We have had a great week of work. They are going to come here ready to go. The roles are flipped from last year when they had their way with us on our field during homecoming. Then we got them in the end in the championship. This year we got them on their field for homecoming. They are going to bring a lot of talent in hear ready to go.”

This indeed will be the fourth meeting between the two schools in the past two seasons. Both teams split last season. The Patriots hope to sweep the Gators this season and land in the championship game.

“We see them all the time and we see them in all sports,” White said. “This is a game for the dogs. There is no puppies coming into this ball game. When it’s us and Glenwood only the dogs come out. We are ready for that. We know they’re coming and we now how they feel about it. There are no secrets about what is going to happen. The more physical team and the team who takes care of the ball on Friday night is going to win it.”

The Patriots will have the luxury of playing in front of their home crowed on Friday night. It’s a crowd that White believes could be the best in high school athletics.

“We are excited to be at home to play this game,” White said. “I would say we have the best fans in high school sports. Not just for football, but for basketball, baseball or cheerleading. Whatever it is we are doing.”

The Patriots defeated the Gators 49-13 earlier this season. Despite the lopsided win, there were a few things that White would like to see his team clean up.

“Last time we had a few busted coverages on defense,” White said. “We got out of gaps a few times, so we have to be more sound in that. Offensively, we missed a lot of assignments and ran the wrong routes.”

Game time is set for 7 p.m.