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Carter says Generals ready

Jeremy Carter is in his first year as the coach of the Autauga Academy Generals. But Carter was on staff last season and remembers the last time the Southern Acad. Cougars and the Generals met, in the semifinals of the AISA Class A playoff tournament, when Southern scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to push a tense 12-0 lead into a comfortable 27-0 win.

Carter says he would like his team to put the game behind them, but knows it’s easier said than done.

“Of course we think about it. It’s going to be in the backs of the minds of the players, the fans and the coaches,” he says. “But maybe we won’t think about it too much.”

Whether the 2004 result is in the front or the backs of his minds, Carter is confident his players will be confident enough themselves to compete in the teams’ 2005 meeting, 7 p.m. Friday at Troy’s Movie Gallery Stadium for the AISA Class A championship.

“We’re going to come out, play hard, and do what we do every week,” Carter says. “You never what’s going to happen.”

What happened for Autauga last week was arguably their biggest win since claiming the 1999 Class A title. The Generals rolled 35-14 over 10-1 Shelby, but just as Carter doesn’t want his players focusing on what happened with Southern last year he’d rather not focus on what happened last week with Shelby, either.

“Hopefully we won’t be thinking about it this week,” he says. “On Monday, we started worrying about Southern. We came together and we’re ready to step up to the challenge.”

Carter admits that, with an improving offensive line and the ever-dangerous Wallace Drury, it will be quite a challenge to snap the Cougars’ 25-game winning streak.

“They’re powerful,” he says. “They’re a great team, very well-disciplined.”

While one of the strengths of Southern has been stopping the run, Autauga has succeeded all year on the legs of running backs Idarius “Oopie” Bennett and Oscar Washington, and Carter isn’t about to alter the formula now.

“It’s too late to change up now. You run the danger of confusing guys or getting them out of sync,” he says. “We have to do our thing. Running’s what got us here. We’re going to run the ball.”

Regardless of the outcome, Carter says the Generals’ first trip to the state title game since that 1999 season will have been a terrific experience for the players in his program.

“It’s great. It’s very exciting to be here. Lots of our kids have never been in this stadium. The atmosphere, especially, is great for all the players, from the seniors through the seventh graders. It’s going to a big night.”