Pike Lib gears up for football season

Published 10:56 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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As the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots continue summer workouts, the school officially released the 2023 football schedule on Tuesday.

The Patriots competed in a 7-on-7 Tournament in Goshen last week and have been hard at work at all summer.

“It’s going well,” Pike Lib coach Phillip Coggins said. “We have guys that are committed to getting better and doing what it takes to get there. They are working hard and we have been very pleased with that.”

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Pike Lib even has a few new faces that have joined the team during the offseason.

“We have a few new players. I don’t know that we have any new kids that will be difference makers yet but we definitely have some guys that did not play last year and a few that have moved into the (school) zone and are playing for us this year,” he said. “The guys that have been the foundation of the team in the past will continue to be that foundation, though. We’re excited about the improvement that all of them have made from the time we got here to today.”

Coggins said that the big thing the Patriots are working on heading into fall camp is becoming a more physical team.

“I haven’t had the opportunity to see our guys in pads yet but from watching film, I think the biggest room for improvement is in the physicality area,” he said. “We want our guys to become extremely physical. Football is a physical sport played by tough young men. We know the most physical team wins the majority of game sand that’s our goal.

“We want to have that mindset that we’re physical and we have worked towards that all summer. We have made an emphasis on the weight room to get there and we’re trying to keep that mindset.”

The 2023 season will be the last for Pike Lib to be ineligible for the playoffs after the move to AHSAA. Because of the timing of the move to public school football, Pike missed out on the last classification realignment so Pike is once again playing without a region, making scheduling a difficult task.

“The majority of the schedule was already made when I got here but it’s challenging when you don’t have region games,” Coggins said. “We have to find 10 non-region games instead of five. You can tell that looking at our schedule when half of the teams are from out of state.”

The Patriots, though, are looking at that unique schedule as a positive.

“It’s exciting. Our kids have the opportunity to travel and play some games in places that traditionally Alabama teams don’t have the opportunity to do,” he said. “We’re looking at it that way. We can’t quality for the playoffs this year but we’re playing quality teams that can help us do that next year and we have the opportunity to play some teams maybe we wouldn’t get to otherwise.”

Pike Lib opens up the season at home against Highland Home on Aug. 18 in a jamboree before launching the regular season on the road in back-to-back games against Zion Chapel on Aug. 25 and Bayside on Sept. 1.

After a bye week, Pike then hosts Port St. Joe (Fla.) on Sept. 15 before three straight road games against Notasulga on Sept. 22, FAMU (Fla.) on Sept. 29 and Lighthouse (Ga.) on Oct. 6.

Back at home, PLAS hosts three straight teams from the state of Florida in Liberty County on Oct. 13, Marianna on Homecoming on Oct. 20 and against Baker on Senior Night on Oct. 27 before closing out the season on the road at Calhoun on Nov. 3.