• 43°

DHS Tigers prepare for a rivalry game at Thomasville

The Tigers may have the No. 2 seed in their region wrapped up, but Thursday night’s game against Thomasville still carries its own breed of playoff implications.

“It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere,” DHS head coach Tom Causey said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to go down and play them suckers. It’s going to be a war.”

Causey said Thomasville is a team that is better than its 6-3 record indicates. The 4A squad has dropped games to Sweet Water, UMS-Wright and Jackson on the year.

“It’s a great game for both communities to play. I’m really proud we’re doing this,” he said of what he hopes will become an annual contest between the schools. “Thomasville has a bus load of tradition. This is the kind of high school football game that should be played in week 10. Their program has been so good over the last eight to 10 years. This is a great opportunity to start us a bona fide week 10 rivalry.”

While the schools have not met on the gridiron in quite some time, their athletes have developed a familiarity through other sports.

“I’ve been waiting on this game since last year in baseball when they were showing out after that game,” senior offensive lineman Trey Oates said of the actions of Thomasville players following a home win over the Demopolis baseball team last spring. “I’ve been waiting to hit them in the mouth ever since.”

Despite its status as a non-region game, emotions surrounding the contest seem to be running high throughout the Demopolis locker room.

“It’s always been a big rivalry,” Oates said. “Ninth grade year they beat us in the third round and every year they’ve been talking trash. It’s time to just put them away right before we leave.”

“They talk trash and showboat,” senior Deshawn Lawson said of the prevailing attitude of Thomasville players that has long bothered Demopolis teams. “It’s pretty much they run their mouths too much.”

Those bitter feelings have acted as a motivating factor for Demopolis players in their preparation for their final regular season opponent.

“We’ll have bragging right for the rest of our lives,” senior Jacob Kerby said of the importance of the game.

Causey candidly heralds Thomasville’s speed and harps on the team’s reputation for physicality as a means of issuing a challenge to his own players.

“It’s really big to us because everybody wants to beat them physically and emotionally,” senior defensive lineman Carl Johnson said. “We want to show them we are more physical than they are. We take everything we can as a challenge to prove we’re the best.”

“We know we’ve got to come out and be more physical than them,” Kerby said. “Coach (Causey) has been telling us all week that the backs need to punish them in the first half and then run around them in the second.”

If Demopolis is successful in that strategy, it will move the team to 6-4 on the year and leave it undefeated over its final five games of the regular season.

“We’ve come a long way as a team,” Lawson said.

“We started off slow in the first half of the season,” Kerby said. “But the second half was a whole new intensity on the practice field mainly.”