DYFL’s oldest team focuses on Holt, playoffs

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Demopolis Youth Football League wraps up its regular season Saturday in Holt and all three teams are focused on making playoff runs. For the league’s oldest age group, the 11-12 division, Holt marks the final regular season game before the team attempts to repeat the run it made a year ago when it played in the tournament finals.

“We don’t have some of the big talent that we had last year, but we have more talent (throughout the roster),” head coach Joe Tidmore said of the difference between the 2008 squad and the one he will lead into Holt Saturday. “I would say on the positive side that we’re playing better as a team than we did last year. That’s one reason we are doing as well as we are.”

One of the reasons the unit is performing with more cohesion than its predecessor from a season ago is that the group has had more than a year in the same offensive and defensive scheme. Last season’s team was in its first as a collective whole.

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“We had several that knew what we were doing, so that obviously helped,” Tidmore said of the foreknowledge the boys brought with them into the season.

That awareness combined with the team’s talent has enabled Demopolis to plow its way to a 5-1 record this season. The team’s only loss this season came just two weeks ago when it fell to undefeated Greensboro 21-6. But, Tidmore and his players believe that the game would have gone much differently had they been afforded their full complement of players.

“I feel like if we had had everybody against Greensboro, it would have been a different game,” Tidmore said. The Tigers were without five of their starters against Greensboro, but blasted Hillcrest a week later without the same players. As they get ready to play Holt, Tidmore said he does not anticipate those players will return to the field.

“We’re not pushing,” Tidmore said. “Our actual starters are not going to be back. We’re kind of holding them off for who we think we’ll play in the second round (of the playoffs),” Tidmore said.

The team’s record gives it the opportunity to sit out the first round of the playoffs due to a bye. That means the Tigers’ injured players will have nearly a month between games with which to get healthy. In the meantime, some of Tidmore’s younger players have had the opportunity to play more and develop their skills.

Still, while the playoffs are a primary focus of Tidmore’s team, the Tigers are intent on besting Holt, the lone team to beat them in the regular season in 2008.

“Holt was the one team that beat us in the season last year,” Tidmore said. “So it’s kind of a revenge thing there. They’ve played two teams we’ve played and both of those teams beat them.”

As the playoffs loom, Tidmore and his assistants are excited about the successes of their current team, but are also pleased with how far the league has come and where it appears to be going.

“One thing that we’re kind of excited about is the city league across town is coming in (and joining with the DYFL next year),” Tidmore said. “I think people are seeing the program that we’re putting together. I’d say within a couple years, we’ll have the best athletes our age groups can offer for Demopolis.”