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Beyond Georgia Dome

After overcoming last weekend’s narrow miss in the state championship game, the Demopolis 11-and-12-year-old team has been at work all week getting ready for this Sunday’s trip to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

“They are real excited,” head coach Joe Tidmore said. “It’s getting hard to hold their attention they are so excited.”

The team will depart by bus from Demopolis at 8 a.m. Sunday. After stopping along the way for a meal, it will arrive in Atlanta where it will take in an NFL showdown between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. Following the game, Demopolis will take the field for its own game against the North Cobb Warriors.

“I’m pretty excited to get to play where professionals play,” Gunner Smith said. “It’s probably a once in a lifetime experience for most of the kids on the team.”

While Tidmore and the Tigers admittedly would like to win the game, they also understand the rare nature of the opportunity in front of them.

“Everybody is going to play regardless of what happens,” Tidmore said.

On the field, the Tigers will face a North Cobb team that figures to offer it new challenges.

“We haven’t seen a lot of what they do,” Tidmore said of the Warrior offense. “They’re mostly in the spread. There’ll be two splits, a one-back set.”

Still, while the Tigers will look to be competitive on the field, Sunday is more about appreciating the season that has been for the first-year team.

“I wasn’t (satisfied) at first,” Brantley Kilgore said of the team’s season. “Losing didn’t feel that good. But yeah, we felt like we had a pretty good season overall.”

“I want people to know the direction that I know (Demopolis head football coach) Causey wants us to go in,” Tidmore said. “We want to be the next Hoover, the next Prattville. That’s one reason this team has been so special because it’s really the start of that. We just need to get the community believing in what we’re doing here.”

Tidmore went on to add that the team’s success has also largely been predicated on the generosity of local businesses who have sponsored the team.

“It wouldn’t have happened without that,” Tidmore said of the support.