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Sanders outplays size for DHS

Anyone who has ever seen Tremaine Sanders on a football field is certain of one simple, indisputable truth. Tremaine Sanders loves the game.

The Demopolis High senior often becomes very animated after he or a teammate makes a big play.

“He loves to play football. He absolutely loves playing the game,” DHS head coach Tom Causey says of Sanders. “It’s not about showmanship. He absolutely enjoys playing the game of football.”

“It’s just something I’ve been doing since I was little,” the enthusiastic defensive lineman says. “I’m good at it. I always go full speed.”

It is often Sanders’ motor as much as his ability that allows him to become involved in plays he should not otherwise make.

At 5-feet-10-inches, Sanders lacks the ideal size that so many coaches desire for defensive linemen. Sanders knows he has no control over his height, so he spends his effort focusing on the things that lie within his grasp.

“Size doesn’t matter,” Sanders says. “It’s about whoever can get to the ball. Whoever can play, can play. It’s all about talent and technique.”

For Sanders, playing beyond his size begins in the weight room.

“Lifting weights makes me better,” he says. “It’s painful at the time, but I know I’m getting faster and getting stronger.”

Sanders may well be the most powerful player on the Demopolis team. At an invitational weight meet in Thomasville earlier this summer, Sanders set a new record in the combine lift; an event that gives competitors the opportunity to bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible.

“It showed me what I’ve been doing has paid off,” Sanders, who did 26 repetitions, says. “It shows that I’ve gotten pretty strong.”

Causey believes that it is Sanders’ effort in the weight room that enables him to be among the better defensive linemen in 5A.

“Tremaine loves the weight room. He understands how to carry that over to the field,” Causey says. “He has an unbelievable work ethic in there.”

It is that weight room work ethic that has enabled Sanders to develop his game to impressive levels.

“He’s one of the best defensive linemen I’ve ever coached,” Causey says of Sanders. “He’s good with his hands. He’s got a great motor and a good attitude. I know he understands what it takes in practice to be good on Fridays.”

The third-year Demopolis head coach also does not believe Sanders’ stature plays to his advantage when facing opposing linemen.

“He’s difficult to block,” Causey says. “He doesn’t have a big, tall body that you’ve got a shot at. He makes it difficult on our offense daily.”

Sanders says his work habits will continue throughout his final year as a Tiger as his squad moves closer to the season it believes will conclude with a coveted run to the 5A title

“Going all the way,” he says of his primary focus. “It’s our senior year. We’ve got no choice. There’s no playing around. We’re going full throttle all the time.”

As for what follows for Sanders once he plays his last game for Demopolis, that remains to be seen. But he has every intention of playing at the next level. And he is far from alone in his belief that such is an attainable goal.

“Everybody’s looking for that 6-4, 300-pound defensive tackle,” Causey says. “He’s going to continue to make plays and somebody is going to say, ‘We’ve got to have this guy.’ Before the year’s over with, somebody will have offered Tremaine and he’ll have a place to play football.”