The Demopolis 11-and-12-year-old football squad will visit Tuscaloosa Saturday where it will matchup with its counterpart team from Central-Tuscaloosa for the state championship round of the playoffs.
“From what we saw and what we felt like we had talent-wise, we felt like we’d be there,” head coach Joe Tidmore said of the optimism he and his staff felt prior to the start of the season.
While Tidmore is confident in his squad, he cautions that Saturday’s contest will be the first-year team’s toughest matchup to date.
“We’re going to meet our match Saturday,” Tidmore said. “We’re going to have to play our best game to win it.”
The Demopolis unit clinched it berth in the championship game amid hostile conditions with a 14-6 win in Greensboro last week.
“They kind of hurt us blitzing some,” Tidmore said of the job Greensboro did slowing down the Demopolis offense. “We didn’t have as good of a game as we hoped for. I think a lot of that is that we’ve been preparing more than we’ve been playing.”
Tidmore said his team has altered its practice habits this week in an effort to rectify the struggles it has had in games.
“We’ve been hitting and we’ve been playing,” Tidmore said. “They’ve been some of the most exciting practices we’ve had. It’s been real intense, hard-hitting practices.”
The team’s ability to focus more on repetition and actual practice comes largely as a byproduct of Central-Tuscaloosa’s offensive style. According to Tidmore, the undefeated CT squad offers an offensive look that is a combination of Demopolis’ first round opponent, Hillcrest, and second round foe, Greensboro.
“They run different things offensively. They mostly get in one-back sets and mix in some two-back,” Tidmore said.
According to Tidmore, the Central group is also a sound defensive unit.
“They’re pretty sound,” Tidmore said. “They keep their shoulders square and they pursue the ball well.”
The Demopolis team will take to the practice field one more time this week.
“We want to just polish up a little bit,” Tidmore said. “We’ll do more special teams.”
The team’s final test of the season comes in the form of an undefeated CT squad that prevailed over Holt 14-0 last weekend. Holt is the only team to defeat Demopolis this season.
For Demopolis players and coaches, the opportunity to bring home a championship in the team’s first year is invaluable. However, Tidmore reportedly takes his greatest satisfaction from the intangibles he and his staff have accomplished this season.
“I think the most rewarding thing is to see how much of the high school’s offense we’ve been able to install,” Tidmore said.