By Wil Crews
On Friday, the Glenwood Gators defeated the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots 26-7 behind a once again stifling defense and the offensive prowess of quarterback Jackson Griner and running back Kye Robichaux.
The win keeps Glenwood (8-0) perfect and secures them the AISA Class 3A Region 1 title.
Glenwood have regularly dominated opponents this season but Friday night was a more highly contested football game. Glenwood led 13-7 after the first two quarters but two crucial second-half Pike turnovers allowed the Gators to maintain their lead.
The Gators jumped on the Patriots early with 5-yard rushing touchdown out of the wildcat formation by Radonda Beauchamp. Their second early score was an electric 65-yard touchdown run by A.J. Harris on a speed sweep that completely unlocked the Patriot defense. Pike blocked the second PAT to keep the score at 13-0.
It was then that he Patriots put together their best drive of the night. A 67-yard march down the field was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mayes White to Kam Baker.
From there the Patriots would regularly threaten, but it was clear Glenwood were the superior team. The opening drive of the second half saw Glenwood march 80 yards down the field and was capped by a five-yard touchdown. Faced with a third and twelve from the Pike 25-yard line, Griner found his receiver at the five-yard line to keep the drive alive and position the Gators in prime scoring territory. This time it was Robichaux who took a wildcat snap and ran straight through the middle of the defense for the score. The Gators lined up to go for two but failed, making the score at 19-7.
The Patriots threatened to score on the next possession and moved the ball the Glenwood 22-yard line. The Gator defense stood tall. Pike’s quarterback took the snap, stood in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity, and eventually tried to force a pass between two Glenwood defenders that was intercepted. Jay Sinclair was the Glenwood defender who was smothering the Patriot receiver as he intercepted the pass to give Glenwood their second turnover of the game.
Glenwood would get their final score two drives later and put the game to bed. After pinning Pike back on their own three-yard line, the Gators allowed two first downs before stifling the Patriots offense, forcing an incomplete pass on fourth and nine near midfield. With less than two minutes left on the play clock, Robichaux took the direct snap again, ran off the right side of line, pummeled two wimpy Pike tacklers and capped of the Glenwood scoring with his third rushing touchdown of the night. This time, the PAT was good; final score 26-7, Glenwood.
Although it wasn’t a high scoring game, the Glenwood offense still flexed their offensive prowess throughout the night. Griner finished with 100 yards rushing and added one interception on defense (he plays both sides of the ball); Robichaux had his sixth straight game with three or more rushing touchdowns and finished with 122 yards on the ground; B.J. Snellgrove led the way on defense for Glenwood with multiple big hits throughout the night and a team-high 15 tackles.
Next Friday, Glenwood look to finish a perfect season as they travel to face the Autauga Academy Generals (3-5). The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST at 497 Golson Road, Prattville, Alabama 36067.