Friday Night Football Fever Preview: Pike Road Patriots

Pike Road returns several key players that will be put to the test early in their opening game against McGill-Toolen.
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - The Pike Road football team is preparing for a clash with McGill-Toolen Catholic School this Friday after an undefeated regular season saw the Patriots make an early exit in the playoffs. A second-round loss to USM-Wright has the Patriots ready to make amends in 2021.

“The kids have had a great fall camp and really had a great summer and offseason, so they’re excited just like I think everybody is to kick off football season, and we’re just looking forward to finishing up a good practice week and go down and have a fun game against McGill-Toolen,” said head coach Patrick Browning. “I feel like we have a strong program and our kids are disciplined, but you can always improve in that area, so just doing all the little things right: keeping your shirt tucked in, running on and off the field, just the little things and really harping on those in order to improve in all facets of the program.”

Browning said they have worked on developing a strong line on both sides of the ball. They’ll get a boost on offense with the return of starting quarterback Iverson Hooks, who tore his ACL midway through the season last year. Senior Quinshon Judkins, who is one of the best running backs in the state, will also contribute to the offense.

“It starts with the offensive and defensive line every year. If your not very good up front on either side, it’s a major weakness,” said Browning. “I feel like our kids up front have worked really hard, and I think we’ve got great assistant coaches who have done a really great job developing the guys. I think [Iverson] is fully healed. He’s had a great offseason, great summer and a great fall camp, and we’re just excited to have him back on the field and seeing him play.”

Browning says he wants to compete for championships, and to do that, they’ll have to set the tone early by challenging themselves in the season opener.

“For us as a program, our last three losses in three years have been to private schools in Mobile, so we just thought why not open the season with arguably the best private school football program in the state, maybe even the South,” Browning said about their upcoming matchup. “It’s cliché, but we’re really focused on getting better every single day and not trying to look to far head. Of course, every team has a goal of winning a championship, but knowing the process is going to take not looking over a day, even if you’re not feeling good but you come out and give it your all, I think that’s extremely important.”

The Patriots kick off the season Friday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.

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