Homewood defeats opposing Patriots to advance to third round


Henry Sklar, Sports Editor

Homewood outgunned Pike Road 24-21 in Friday’s second-round battle of the Patriots to advance to the third round of the AHSAA football playoffs. 

Their reward is a trip to Mobile next Friday to go toe to toe with the Saraland Spartans (11-1) who knocked off Hillcrest 56-31. 

Both Patriots started slowly at Waldrop Stadium, punting on each of their first possessions. 

Homewood (10-2) struck first on their second possession, capitalizing on good starting field position, as Woods Ray finished a three-minute drive by punching the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out.

Pike Road answered quickly on a third and long, as superstar running back Anthony Rogers caught a pass in the middle of the field and took it 52 yards to the end zone, knotting the game up.

After trading punts, each patriot squad found the end zone on their next drives. Wide receiver Jackson Parris caught a 29-yard pass on the right hash for a Homewood touchdown. Rogers added his second touchdown for the visitors off of a 16-yard inside zone rush.

Homewood ended the half pulling ahead 21-14 as Woods Ray led his team down the field with his legs, letting Mondrell Odell cap it off in the end zone.

The third quarter was quiet, as each side missed potential game-changing, deep touchdown passes. Ray narrowly overshot tight end, Tripp Gann, for Homewood, and on the ensuing possession, a 50-plus-yard touchdown for Pike Road was called back due to a penalty.

Whit Armistead opened the second half with a field goal extending the Homewood lead to 10 with a little over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Pike Road again marched downfield, and for his third time on the night, Rogers dashed into the end zone from 17 yards out.

Homewood got the ball right back and was able to milk down the clock to the final minute. Pike Road forced a punt before starting their final, desperate possession on their own two-yard line.

The Homewood defense stepped up with the game-clinching stop, sending the Homewood fans into bedlam and squashing the little hopes of Pike Road.

With this win, coach Berguson and his Patriots advance to the third round of the AHSAA playoffs for the second time in his tenure.

“It was a real gritty win,” Berguson said. “We haven’t gotten here since 2018, so it is great to get back to where we were.”

Saraland will be a tall task, however, if the Patriots have proved one thing this season, it is that anything is possible with this group.