DHS, Sumter County ready for Friday night clash

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2005

There might have some Demopolis fans fretting DHS’s occasional sloppy play during last Friday’s jamboree game as the Tigers prepare for their regular season opener against Sumter County. But one DHS coach who isn’t is head man Doug Goodwin.

“It’s just part of growing pains,” he says, referring to one six play stretch of the third quarter when the Tigers fumbled the ball away three times in six plays. “We’ll get better as the year goes along. That’s why you have pre-season games, to get stuff like that out of your system.”

Goodwin is hopeful it will be out by the time Demopolis kicks off their 2005 season in York at 7:00 p.m. Friday night. Goodwin says he isn’t looking for DHS to come out and set the world on fire after the Thomasville performance, but to instead just focus on winning the game and improving from last week.

“We’re looking to execute a little bit better on offense. On defense we just want to get to the ball a little better,” he says. “If we can improve each week, improve a little each day, in the long run we’ll be fine.”

It’s a similar attitude to the one adopted by Sumter County head coach Stacey Watters, who says that his team isn’t obsessing over last year’s 62-0 season-opening defeat in Demopolis or worrying about any goals other than the one right in front of them.

“We’re approaching it like a game,” he says simply. “Our goal is just to win this game…to try to win it one play at a time.”

For his part, Goodwin also says that what happened last August doesn’t mean a lot in terms of this August.

“That was 15 games ago,” he says. “They’ve got a lot of guys back. Whether or not we’re the better football team now remains to be seen.”

Goodwin says he expects the Wildcats to try and exploit their athleticism and speed at wide receiver on offense, and go-for-broke on the other side of the ball.

“They’re always athletic. They’ll usually try to throw it deep, get behind you and outrun you,” Goodwin says. “We think they’ll take some chances on defense. Put 8 in the box, try to play man-to-man and blitz more guys than we can block.”

Goodwin said that one of the issues that arose during the Thomasville scrimmage was that his own receivers ran out of gas late in the game. He’s looking for that unit to step up and make an extra effort as the season progresses.

“We’ve been pushing them in practice, but they’ve got to push themselves at some point. They’ve got to hit that point where they think they can’t go further and overcome that,” he says.

Aside from that, Goodwin says there was both good and bad in DHS’s jamboree performance.

“We had some people out of position [on defense] and that opened up some gaps for them to run through,” he says. “But they played better in the third quarter than they had been. And the kicking game was better than it has been in practice. We hit both extra points and Rob [Quinney] had a few good punts. If we can do that, that’s adequate.”