Area teams set to tangle for shot at state title

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

Friday night football is here and it’s time to put you’re your game face on. Three teams from throughout the region remain in the playoffs, all wanting to move on to the next round. And forty-eight minutes is all that separates them from achieving that goal.

For the 4A (11-0) Demopolis Tigers, their fate relies on the shoulders of their defense. Last week against the Choctaw county Tigers the DHS Tigers defense was forced to step it up a notch and tonight they will have to step it up even farther.

The Tigers defense spent 25:33 on the field Friday night only giving up 61-total rushing yards and one touchdown. If the Tigers can repeat that kind of defensive effort this week against the Opp option, then UMS-Wright had better get ready.

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Offensively the Tigers are hurting with injuries but that doesn’t mean they will not be able to put points on the board. Although the Tigers lacked in protection on the offensive line last week with numerous missed blocks throughout the first half of play they did regroup and drive the ball with their ground game.

Hopefully the Tigers learned their lessons last week and will be able to move the ball on the ground against Opp. If not, then it could be another long night for both the Tigers defense and their specialty teams, who punted the football seven times against Choctaw County, which is more than they have had to punt all season.

But believe it or not the Tigers, despite their injuries; have a tremendous advantage in tonight’s game over the Bobcats. The (9-2) Opp Bobcats come to town tonight bringing with them a highly talented running game that’s loaded with both speed and size.

But the Bobcats’ two losses this season have both come on the road. While the Bobcats are known to run the option with their 6’1" 220lb junior fullback Brock Kelley. For some reason the Opp option doesn’t function properly when the Bobcats are away from home.

Southern at Wilcox

Turning to the AISA, after their 54-14 first round playoff victory over the Springwood Wildcats, the (8-3) Southern Academy Cougars prepare this week for a rematch with another wildcats team when they take on the (10-1) Wilcox Academy Wildcats tonight in Camden

Tonight’s game marks the second meeting this season between the two teams but this time around there is a bit more on the line. The two teams will be battling for a trip to Troy next week and a shot at the AISA 2A state championship.

The Wildcats came out ahead in the first meeting winning 14-10 in a hard fought battle where little mistakes made the difference. But Southern Academy head coach Shaun Bonds knows that that was a long time ago and the Cougars are a different team now.

Leading the offensive attack for the Cougars will be junior running back Erik Montz who gained 2,023-rushing yards in the regular season and added 286 yards to his school record in the first round of the playoffs. "Our guys on the line have done a great job all season and all the credit should go to them," Montz said.

The Cougars pride themselves on being a very physical football team and coach Bonds feels that his Cougars have a good chance of winning tonight if they can win the battle in the trenches and physically beat up the Wildcats. "If it turns out that this came is a track meet then we’ll be in trouble but if it’s a slug fest, I’d say we have a pretty good shot," Bonds said.

It will be a defensive battle tonight in Camden that could mean a returning trip to Troy for the Cougars. "Three scores from either team could win this thing Friday night," Bonds said.

Sweet Water at Reeltown

And in 1A AHSAA football there is the (7-4) Sweet Water Bulldogs, who must travel to the other side of Montgomery tonight for a second round playoff match-up with the Reeltown Rebels.

Despite their (7-4) record, the Rebels are not to be taken lightly and Sweet water head coach Stacy Luker is well aware of it. "They are (7-4) overall but they’re (11-0) on the field," Luker said. The Rebels were forced to forfeit their first four games of the season for playing an ineligible player.

It’s been two years since these two teams have met and many Bulldogs fans and players still remember a game that they would rather forget. The Rebels came into Sweet Water two years ago for a similar playoff match-up and stomped the Bulldogs 49-0.

The Bulldogs season came to an end while the Rebels went on to capture the 1A state championship

For 56 minutes in Wednesday’s practice the Bulldogs went through defensive drills at full speed with no breaks, looking at every possible situation they may find themselves in come Friday night. But hopefully the Bulldogs defense will not have to spend that much time on the field tonight. "Defense and special teams are the two biggest factors at this time of year," Luker said.