Taking it all in stride
The Tigers (8-4) travel to Cramton Bowl today where they will meet up with AHSAA, Class 5A, Region 3 champion Carver (12-0) in the third round of the state playoffs. The game is a rematch of a week four, Thursday night clash in Wetumpka that saw the Wolverines hang a 47-22 final on the Tigers.
“We didn’t play very good when we played them the first time because we didn’t find ourselves,” senior linebacker Greg Irvin said.
The Tigers spotted Carver three early scores in that contest before eventually rallying to close the gap to 13. Irvin is confident the team is more prepared for such a scenario at this juncture of the season.
“If we get down early, we’ve got the drive and the spirit to stay in it and keep fighting,” Irvin said.
“I think you’ve got to stay on the even keel,” head coach Tom Causey said. “That’s one thing our team has done a good job of all year.”
Demopolis has shown exceptional tenacity over the past several weeks, falling behind by double digits early against Greenville and then again during the first round of the playoffs against Sylacauga. In each of those contests, the Tigers overcame early setbacks to pick up victories.
During the current seven-game winning streak, Demopolis has credited its Friday night successes to its Monday through Thursday practice sessions. Holding to form, Causey’s cats report having another good week.
“We’ve had a great work week,” Causey said. “They came with a great attitude and ready to work all week.”
The tempo at the Demopolis practices has reportedly been set by a senior class that understands its time on the field for DHS is drawing to a close.
“We’ve come miles,” junior Anthony Hardy said. “The seniors stepped up. They took responsibility.”
“To go harder and push the young guys,” Irvin said of the focus of the senior players. “We’re trying to find a foundation for them because if they see us doing it, they’ll do the same. If they see the seniors day in and day out going hard, they’ll pick it up and do the same and start a tradition.”
The Demopolis head coach knows his team will likely need to maximize its efforts to punch a ticket to the tournament’s fourth round next weekend.
“They’ve got a big, physical offensive line and a big running back whose had a great year,” Causey said of the Wolverine offensive unit.
The running back in question, Andrew Pitts, has carried the ball 186 times for 1,879 yards and 26 touchdowns. He has also netted two receiving touchdowns. His first meeting with the Tigers saw him strike for three touchdowns.
Much of his production can be attributed to the work of an offensive line that includes Brandon Moore. The 6-foot-5-inch, 320-pound Moore also plays along the defensive front and is rated as a four-star prospect according to both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
“Our guys are going to have to deal with their size, get good pad level and great leverage and play our game,” Causey said.