Tigers face crucial game for playoffs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 13, 2007

Last week was your typical week in that some teams won, some teams lost and some didn&8217;t even play, literally. In qualification of the latter, some didn&8217;t play because someone at the Alabama Independent School Association central office or at the home school did not schedule officials for the game. How do you forget to do this?

This is somewhat akin to a personal checklist most guys go through each day: Wristwatch? Check. Wallet? Check. Pants zipped? Check. Out the door.

Perhaps if the visiting school that made the long trip for nothing sent them (central office or home school) a bill for their travel expenses it might be a reminder to go through a checklist next time.

Let&8217;s jump right into our games for tonight shall we:

Demopolis (1-1) at Shelby County (1-1)

Strange things seem to happen when Marengo County schools visit this area. See the above paragraphs about a game being cancelled and the below paragraph on Marengo Academy. The last time (2001) Demopolis played up there the local sheriff tried to arrest Demopolis coach Doug Goodwin for running up the score. That&8217;s no lie. I saw it myself.

No buses with players, coaches, band and cheerleaders have gone missing or phantom ships have been seen on the horizon, so I guess we could rule out a Bermuda Triangle phenomenon.

However, the meeting last year between these two schools was interesting in that it turned out to be one of, if not the, longest game on the books in Alabama High School Athletic Association records for 2006.

Home standing Demopolis goes into the half down 6-0 to the Wildcats of SCHS. If you went home at that point or turned off the game due to the DHS miscues (offensive possessions in the first half were: downs, interception, fumble, interception) you missed all the action.

Cutting to the chase, Shelby outlasted Demop 48-42 in four OT&8217;s. The Tigers even out rushed their feline mascot brethren 253-71 but turnovers and penalties kept SCHS in the game.

Last week, the River City Bengals lost a bruising battle to a pretty darn good McAdory team 17-6. Shelco was blown out by Bibb County 55-32.

SCHS return many of the names from last year: RB/DE Darion Sutton, speedy RB Tyrone Buie, TE Daniel Watkins and WR Michael Trice. Under second year coach Ryan Herring the Wildcats employ a &8216;straight at you&8217; style which in the past few years has given a fast but undersized Demopolis defense some problems.

This is a game with regional standing and playoff implications. Due to this win last year Shelby was the No. 2 seed from Region 3 and DHS was the No. 3.

Demop has the talent and coaching to win this game but are struggling to find themselves with a new offensive playbook and philosophy. Defensively, the royal blue and white Tigers have perhaps more team speed than the 2004 state champions.

Demop can win this game but must be error free (turnovers, penalties and defensive breakdowns), otherwise it&8217;s a long ride from Wildcat land.

John Essex (0-2) at Zion Christian (Columbia, Tenn.)

Make sure the game is on and there are refs scheduled before you even crank up the bus.

The Hornets were swatted by South Lamar last week 37-0. South Lamar is a pretty good football team. They are now ranked as the No. 10 team in AHSAA 1A.

JEHS was originally scheduled for an open week, but Coach Means was able to book this one as a rare Saturday game, and out of state game at that.

Little is known about their opponent by yours truly. I will check the sports pages on Sunday to see how this one comes out.

Sweet Water (2-0) at Sunshine (1-1)

The SWHS Bulldog team was almost arrested last week in Hale County for child abuse as they spanked Akron 75-14. Sunshine was handled easily by Linden 43-6.

To put it simply, Sweet Water, the No. 1 ranked team in 1A, has got it going on. Sunshine is fortunate that this is a home game and they don&8217;t have to drive after this one.

Linden (2-0) at Akron (0-2)

To get an accurate vote for the 1A ranking, the pollsters should call the Akron Rams. Last week it was No. 1 Sweet Water, tonight it&8217;s No. 6 Linden and later on in the season they go to No. 10 South Lamar.

The Rams will see more of the same from last week, only Linden is thought to be more physical than Sweet Water.

The Patriots of LHS will score points by the truckload while playing hard nosed defense.

The Spotlight Question: Will Linden exceed the 61-point victory margin Sweet Water hung on the Rams last week?

Southern (2-0) at Marengo Academy (1-1)

Southern coach Shaun Bonds remembers from his playing days at Greensboro High what it was like to journey to Linden to take on the Red Devils. Greensboro was good but Linden was like a machine. The tide has turned, now Bonds has his hands at the controls of his own machine.

Last week the Cougars used three turnovers plus Matt Bouler running for almost 200 yards to smush Escambia. Meanwhile, Marengo was having a wonderful bus road to Coosa Valley that resulted in nada. Yep, cost of bus $600; fuel $100; food for the team $400; feelings reserved for those responsible (more accurately irresponsible) for not having refs resulted in the game being cancelled; priceless.

The only chance of this game not being played is Humberto dumping mucho el waterro on Linden.

Notables from last week

Giant Killer of the week: Williamson 40, No. 1 5A St. Paul&8217;s 7.

Pancake of the week: Sweet Water 75, Akron 14.

Left the Defense on the Bus: Tuscaloosa Central 72, Greene Co. 38.

Low Ball of the week: Cornerstone Christian 1, Central Christian 0.

(Side bar question: How is that possible?)

Squeaker of the week: (Tie) Baldwin Co. 7, Leflore 6; Sparta 7, Wilcox Academy 6.

Shortest game of the week: Holt 34, Livingston 6 &8212; called in Q3 due to injury to Livingston player.

Non-game of the week: Marengo Academy at Coosa Valley &8212; somebody forgot to schedule some refs for the game, thus, no game.

Remember, Demopolis on the road tonight, 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium in Columbiana. If you are making the trip, it&8217;s about 2 1-2 hours. Allow some time for directions and pit stops. The chance of rain Friday night is 40 percent. And of course, wear blue.

Until next time, play hard; play for fun; play to win.

Mike Grayson is contributing columnist to the Times.