Tackling key in UMS re-match

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Although this week marks the 68th meeting between Alabama and Auburn in the great college rival Iron Bowl game, Demopolis could care less right now cause the only game that matters right now is the one this Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

With the UMS-Wright Bulldogs coming to town Friday night for a third round playoff rematch, the DHS Tigers have plenty to think about. It’s been a long year since these two teams have met. The Bulldogs knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs last year when they beat the Tigers 17-0 in the semi-finals.

For head coach Doug Goodwin this week’s game is not about fear like many may think but rather about excitement. "In the back of our minds I think that we have all been looking forward to playing UMS again. I know I have and I know most of the kids feel that way. We’ve been hoping that we would get another shot at them and now we got it, so now we just have to execute," Goodwin said.

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The Bulldogs are loaded with talent and have been a dominating factor in 4A football since entering the class in 2000. The Bulldogs moved from 3A, where they had won only one state championship as UMS Prep in 1987, into the 4A classification in the 2000 season.

And since their move have done nothing but dominate with an impressive (49-4) record over the span of four years. In their first year in 4A the Bulldogs made it to the third round of the playoffs losing to Trinity 10-6. But for the past two years they have ruled the land in 4A winning back-to-back 4A state championships. But according to Goodwin, it’s not that the Bulldogs are so perfect it’s just that they don’t know how to do anything else but win.

There numbers may be intimidating with two undefeated season in both 2001 and 2002, not to mention going (12-1) this season. But they are very beatable as we saw in the last week of the regular season when the 5A cross town rival St. Paul’s defeated the Bulldogs 28-24.

But for the Tigers, the task of playing mistake free football has not exactly been an easy won thus far in the playoffs. "We can’t turn the ball over, that is the first thing," "We have to make them beat us and not beat ourselves," Goodwin said.

Despite not making mistakes, the Tigers must also come ready to give up nothing defensively since the Bulldogs not only have a strong passing and running game but also have an even stronger kicking game. UMS- Wright place kicker Andrew Friedman has got a leg. He hit a 44-yard field goal and a 42-yard field goal against Greensboro High in the first round of the playoffs.

But Goodwin likes this match-up this week and is thankful to be at home. "I think we match up well against them. They have that quick little running back that we have to wrap up on and if we can play good pass defense and not get trapped in the line then I think we will have a chance," Goodwin said.

And speaking of having a good chance, being at home should help. "I would rather play here than go down there," Goodwin said.