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Pike Road runs through Andalusia to reach Class 5A state title game

PIke Road Semi champs

By Kamarri Darrington / Central Alabama Scoreboard

Photos by Thomas Stabler 

PIKE ROAD–The celebration began even before the final buzzer sounded. 

Pike Road defensive end Khurtiss Perry threw his helmet towards the dark sky and ran towards his family in the bleachers. 

The rest of the Patriots shook hands, then greeted their families on the field to snap pictures and give out hugs worthy of the historic moment for Pike Road football.

In its fourth varsity season, Pike Road will play for the state championship.

A pair of 150-yard rushing performances, a blocked punt and a defensive shutout were the ingredients for a 33-0 win over Andalusia in Friday’s Class 5A semifinal. 

Anthony Rogers rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries and Quinshon Judkins rushed for 166 yards and two scores on 25 carries for Pike Road (13-0), which will play for its first state championship next Thursday.

“We came out early with the momentum on the offensive side of the ball,” Judkins said. “We had a game plan and everybody did their job. It continued for the whole game. We improved on doing the little things right every week during these playoffs.”

After a scoreless first quarter that looked similar to the first meeting, Pike Road started with a 1-yard Judkins plunge for a 6-0 lead.

Pike Road’s Dale Henderson then blocked an Andalusia punt and Malik Blocton recovered it, leading to a  23-yard scoring run from Judkins for a 13-0 Pike Road lead late in the second quarter.

Rogers would start his scoring night with a 37-yard run for a 20-0 lead, then Jeff Ceman ended the first half with the first of two interceptions on the night for Pike Road.

Rogers kept things going after halftime with a turf-burning 68-yard touchdown run after the Pike Road defense forced a turnover on downs inside their own 15. Rogers would complete his hat trick with a seven-yard run.

“I’m excited about playing next week,” Rogers said. “I feel like we underestimated (Andalusia) the first time. This time, we knew what was on our plate and we were able to execute. We proved that we’re not a second-round team. We’re a state championship team.”

Pike Road’s defense ended the night with a DJ Tolliver interception. Pike Road quarterback Iverson Hooks completed both pass attempts for 54 yards and ran for another 41 on eight carries.

“I’m just so proud of these young men,” Pike Road head coach Patrick Browning said. “It really doesn’t matter who we play. Our focus continues to be getting better each week. These kids have bought into what we’ve been telling them. It’s unbelievable for us and the community to be doing this.”

Pike Road now faces its final test: Pleasant Grove. The Spartans (12-1) easily handled Fairview 47-17 to reach the title game for the third straight season. Pleasant Grove’s lone loss was a forfeit to Oxford.

No Gatorade baths for Coach Browning after winning on Friday. That will have to wait.

“I told them if they want the Gatorade bath, they’ll have to win the state championship,” Browning said.

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