Morgan takes on Pike Lib in semifinals

Published 1:13 am Friday, November 13, 2009

SELMA — Eleven weeks ago, Pike Lib spoiled the home season opener for Morgan Academy and first-year coach Brian King, taking home a 13-6 defense-led victory.

Tonight, Morgan gets an opportunity to repay the Patriots in a big way, meeting at 7 p.m. to decide who goes to the AISA Class AAA championship game. The winner takes on the winner of the Fort Dale-Bessemer game at 1 p.m. Nov. 20 at Troy University.

Things have changed.

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“We’re a different team,” King said Thursday. “They’re a better team. And I understand they’ve got everybody healthy for the game.”

Pike Liberal (9-1) has changed its offense in a big way, King said.

“They’re putting their big boys in the backfield, and they’ll block for the runner,” he said. “You get past the lineman and then — surprise — here comes another big guy.”

As far as the Senators are concerned, King said Morgan will be playing the same basic game.

“We’ve got to find out what’s going to work for us,” he said.

Last week, however, the Senators (7-4) pulled out the halfback pass and the hook-and-ladder play to beat Macon-East 19-13 with 7 seconds to play.

Holding Macon-East to 13 points is an example of the team’s defensive play, King said.

“Our defense has been playing better,” he said. “We need to get our speed guys in the open areas. Last time (we played Pike Lib), we found the seam one time.”

Junior quarterback Austin Smitherman rambled 73 yards for Morgan’s only score.

King said the Senators had “a good practice” Thursday, highlighted by a visit from former Morgan standout Reid McMillan. He was a member of the undefeated 1994 Auburn national champions.