Tigers, Bulldogs, turn Marengo County into football’s ‘Promised Land’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mike Grayson/Columnist

The final score from Friday night in case you missed it, Marengo County 70-28 over The World.

Demop and Sweet H2O both held up their ends of the deal making it a Marengo double header sweep.

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Two teams / schools very, very similar yet with their own distinctive dissimilar traits. Both successfully staked their claim to the top of the classification’s mountain. The DHS ‘Big Cats’ did it with an experienced senior laden team; the Bully Dawgs with a young group mostly of underclassmen. Both defeated opponents from North Alabama that had more size across the front and featured some tremendously athletic looking players.

Demopolis found the end zone by way of 4 TD passes, one of which broke a state record, another which broke the new record that broke the record. Sweet Water somewhat remarkable on the other end of the spectrum never completed a pass and still piled up 35 points. SWHS utilized a ground assault much akin to the Red Chinese Army and the Ever Ready Bunny; they keep coming, and coming and coming.

So what do you call a group of guys from some peckerwood county in the middle of Alabama’s ‘nowhere’, some have even described as being America’s very own ‘third world nation’? How do you label these two after going ‘to the city’ and winning a couple of big games? I will answer these questions in a sec.

DHS&SWHS won their title as “Lord of the Rings’ in 1A&4A by developing and utilizing the 3 ‘C’s’; character, chemistry and coaching.

Character is the real world personification of the old slogan “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Character brings in to play the mental attributes of discipline, desire and determination then manifests itself by way of physical action. Character allows a player to play hard but yet play cleanly and honestly within the rules. In other words, regardless of the situation or the odds character, whether in athletics, sales or life will always carry a group or individual upward towards the victory circle.

Chemistry is something that when mixing the proper ingredients you get a dynamic combo of sight and sound with universal applications. Alter the formula just a fraction, take away an ingredient or introduce the wrong element to the mix and the whole goes from a wonderful elixir to a toxic brew. Translation, the kids play together as a team and not ‘Mr. Superstar and The Gang of No Name Mooks’.

Coaching molds and shapes the above, puts them in the right place at the right time with the right attitude. A coach shapes that attitude as much off the field as he does in practice, team meetings or game day. A player is never uncertain with good coaching of what he can expect if he does right or if he does wrong. Many times this is accomplished with encouragement and support, other times tough discipline is necessary.

Much has been written and said about the magical day of December 10th. It truly was awesome from a fan support standpoint. People taking off work, tailgating in the parking lot, students with the painted faces and yeah they were those who had the shirts off with painted chests getting plenty of ‘air time on the tube’. It was a small scale of game day in Tuscaloosa, Auburn or Troy. (Note to UAB: you may want to consider vacating cavernous Legion Field and moving home games to Hoover as it would be a tremendous venue.) Those that weren’t able to attend the games listened to the radio or watched on television. I have not seen the official attendance stats but I would estimate there were 3,500 – 5,000 at ‘The Met’ for Friday’s games. 5,000 would mean 1/6 of the total Marengo county population was in Hoover. Courtland and Deshler may have initially questioned was this the right day or did we show up for the 5A / 6A games, surely a 1A nor does a 4A school gets that kind of support.

It was truly magical and the celebration continues today with “Tiger Day” in Demopolis and the parade at 4:00. Also, with the completion of football’s second season (playoffs) now comes the ‘third season’ which creates as much discussion and passion as the other two. Of course what I am referring to is individual honors and specifically recruiting to the next level. We’ll do more on this at a later date.

OK, now the answer to the question what do you call these guys from Demopolis High and Sweet Water High that made it football’s Promised Land? One word, Champions and yes make that a capital ‘C’.

See you at the stadium or over at the gym.