The Pisgah football team’s tough start looks like a distant memory now.
After opening with losses to teams that were ranked at the time or after defeating the Eagles, Pisgah has responded with three straight wins.
None was bigger than last’s weeks 44-20 win at North Sand Mountain, as Pisgah scored 38 unanswered points to end the game, rallying from a 20-6 third-quarter deficit to end a four-game losing streak to NSM.
“The kids didn’t quit (after starting the season 0-3), kept working and now they’ve seen that pay off some,” said Pisgah head coach Luke Pruitt. “We knew (the schedule) was tough but it’s made us better. Now we’re here with all our goals still there.”
Pisgah’s Class 2A Region 7 title hopes and goal to host a playoff game remain intact, but the Eagles will have to work to preserve them this week against a team with similar intentions.
Pisgah (3-3, 2-1) hosts Ider (4-2, 2-1) in a matchup for one-loss region teams Friday at 7 p.m. at Sam Kenimer Stadium in Pisgah.
It’s the 46th meeting in a series that was revived last season following an 11-year hiatus. The Eagles hold the all-time series advantage 28-16-1.
Pisgah won last season’s game, rallying from a two-touchdown halftime deficit to win 34-27 in overtime. Both teams have a lot of the same faces suiting up for them.
One change for Ider is on the sideline, as former Pisgah assistant Chad Grant is now leading his alma mater after an stint as the offensive coordinator at Buckhorn. His son, Dylan, is the Hornets’ quarterback. Ider also features a pair of big-play running backs in Hunter Robinson and Matthew Norman.
“Coach Grant has done a good job with them, got them believing in what they’re doing,” Pruitt said. “They’re real solid all around. Their running game is really good. Got two backs that we’ve got to stop. If we can limit them from running the football we can win the football game.”
Ider has region wins over NSM 13-7 and Section 41-40 and non-region wins over Woodville 53-0 and Victory Christian 36-7. Its region loss was a 20-17 setback to Tanner and 28-14 non-region loss to Plainview. The Hornets are averaging 30.9 points per game while allowing just 17.4 per game, which is the 15th fewest among Class 2A teams.
Pisgah will challenge the Ider defense with a scoring offense that is averaging 43.7 points per game, third most in Class 2A.
Pruitt lauded the play-calling of offensive coordinator Adam Gilbert while praising the execution of his offensive players for the Eagles’ high-scoring ways.
“Coach does a great job of spreading the ball around,” Pruitt said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays, and the great thing is they’re unselfish, they don’t care when their number is called. When it is, they’re making plays. (Quarterback) Mason (Holcomb) is making good decisions and throwing it well. And most of all our offensive linemen are doing a good job.”
Pruitt said the Eagles’ offense must avoid turnovers and finish drives against what he said is a strong Ider defense.
“They’ve been bend-but-don’t break some this year and have been really opportunistic with turnovers,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we protect the ball.”