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Goodwin, DHS wary of Choctaws

Maybe Demopolis’s comfortable win over Sumter County last week wasn’t as completely comfortable as the win the year previous, but DHS head coach Doug Goodwin will take it–especially with an increasingly dangerous opponent coming to town this week.

“We never take a win for granted,” he says of the 38-0 victory over Sumter County. “I was pleased we ran the ball as well as we did. Defensively, we didn’t give up a whole lot of yardage.”

The Tigers will be more than happy to get the same production out of their running game this week against the Bibb County Choctaws as they did against the Wildcats. Starter Rock Jones carried for 175 yards and scored four times, and backup Lucius Haywood added two more TDs on the ground. Goodwin gave much of the credit to his offensive line–led by one of the Tigers’ “Players of the Week,” senior guard Zach Landerfelt–and the effort they made in practice after a less successful performance in DHS’s jamboree game the week before.

“That was what we wanted to do. We didn’t run the ball very well against Thomasville,” he says. “We worked hard on it in practice and wanted to see if we could do it.”

But everything wasn’t perfect, for the Tigers, either. Six turnovers and 21 penalties (though several were argued intensely by the Tiger coaching staff during the game) mean that there’s still plenty of room for improvement, Goodwin says.

That improvement will likely be needed this week as Bibb County comes to town.

“We expect it’ll be a lot closer this time,” Goodwin says, referring to last year’s 53-0 Demopolis win in Centreville. “They’re bound to be better. And right now, we’re not where we were at this point of the season last year.”

They’re bound to be better because, in Goodwin’s words, “they’ve got just about everybody back.” That includes senior quarterback Clay Jones, who threw for more than 2100 yards last season to lead the Choctaws to the 4A playoffs as Region 4.

“They rely more on the pass than the run. They have a good QB. He’s big boy, 6-2, 210,” Goodwin says of Jones. “They’ve got capable receivers to catch the ball, too.”

With Bibb coming off of a 24-0 win over Holt in week 1, they will likely arrive in Demopolis with plenty of confidence and ready to let Jones put the Demopolis secondary to the test. The Tigers have plenty of talent and experience in the defensive backfield with corners Dwiuan White and Giorgio Griffin and senior safeties Dontrell Miller and Willie Blount, but Goodwin says they will still need help from the pass rush. The most likely supplier is outside linebacker Ezell Braxton, who repeatedly got to the quarterback in the Sumter County game

“[It] depends on how well the front plays,” Goodwin says of the Tigers’ pass defense against the Choctaws. “Anyone can throw if you let them just sit back there. You can’t cover guys forever.”

The game will be Demopolis’s first regional game of the season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.