Patriots bring momentum into offseason

Published 12:54 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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Last Friday, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots wrapped up year two in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) with a 36-18 win over the Calhoun Tigers on the road.

Against Calhoun, Pike Lib led 14-6 at halftime but then scored 22 points in the third quarter to seal the win.

Michael Vaughn started things off with a 14-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, while Kade Brookins hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Dawson Bradford in the second quarter. In the third, Vaughn returned the opening kickoff for an 86-yard touchdown, while Jackson Booth caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Bradford and Brookins returned an interception for a touchdown.

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Bradford finished the game 7-of-10 passing for 68 yards and two touchdowns, while Brookins caught two passes for 31 yards and a score along with the interception return for a touchdown. Vaughn rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown on three carries and had 165 yards and a touchdown on kickoff returns. Morgan rushed for 54 yards and a score and Pruitt Vaughan led the PLAS defense with seven tackles and one sack.

“They played great and came out and competed and got after it,” PLAS Coach William Moguel said. “We had a little lull in the second quarter, right before the half, but we picked it back up and played well in the second half. I’m proud we ended the season with a win.”

Moguel believes that season-ending win will propel the Patriots into a positive offseason.

“We have a lot of stuff to do in the offseason and we have to get stronger and we’ll be doing some things they aren’t used to,” Moguel said. “The kids are fired up about (the win). I don’t think many people thought we would win as many games as we did. More than anything, the kids never quit all year and continued to compete each week.

“The Baker game was a prime example of that. I was proud of the way we fought back and I think we can build off the positives of this season.”

Pike Lib finished year two in the AHSAA 3-6, tying last season’s record and next season, the Patriots will be eligible for the playoffs. Moguel jumped into the head coaching position mere weeks before the season started, a tough spot for anyone to be in, but was proud of the way his team played.

“I was pleased with the season,” he said. “We really didn’t have a summer, so I was proud of the way the kids took to the things we were teaching and I’m glad we’ll get to implement more of the stuff we want to run this offseason. We dropped some games I think we should have won but other than that, I was proud of the whole team.”