Second chance at Greenville
Tom Causey’s Tigers had very little time to celebrate their double-overtime win over No. 4 Shelby County. Immediately after junior Damarcus James took his 37th carry into the end zone and ended the Wildcats’ season, Demopolis turned its attention to No. 2 Greenville, the team that won the Class 5A, Region 3 title and the Tigers’ opponent for round two of the playoffs.
The Tigers struggled through a poor first half on the way to a 28-7 loss to Greenville on Oct. 16, a game that has since left a bitter taste in the mouths of DHS players.
“It was definitely their intensity,” Causey said of the difference in that Week 8 matchup. “Their intensity level was much higher than ours. They were playing for a region championship. I’m not quite sure what we were playing for. They came out and whipped us in every facet of the game.”
Whether this go-round with Greenville will be any different than the previous remains to be seen. However, there are key differences as the Tigers head into that contest. For one, senior defensive lineman Martaze Jackson figures to be available. The defensive end missed the first meeting due to injury. His return will allow Demopolis its full complement of defensive linemen.
Secondly, the Demopolis offensive line — which has struggled mightily at times this season — it is coming off what was arguably its best performance of the 2009 campaign.
“We’ve got to put in a similar level of play all day long, everyday,” Causey said of the offensive front. “We’ve worked extremely hard all year long. We can’t afford to go backwards.”
While the line play was much improved, the defense forced five turnovers and the James rushed for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns, there are still areas that need to be more crisp if Demopolis is to punch its ticket for round three. Causey consents that beating Greenville will be difficult if DHS cannot get vertical with its passing game.
“I think we’ve got to be able to (run and pass),” Causey said. “We want to be able to run the ball first and help our offense out by keeping them off balance. We’ve got to be able to throw it a little bit.”
Conversely, Demopolis will need to prove itself capable of taking away the Greenville rushing attack that has proven so potent en route to an 11-0 record this year.
“We’ve got to stop their run game,” Causey said. “We’ve got to stop their counters and their traps. They are a jet sweep team as well, same as Shelby County did to us. We’ve got to stop that. They do a great job of running the football.”
While the rematch with Greenville figures to conjure plenty of emotion for Demopolis, Causey was unconcerned with his team’s mental state. He said the Tigers’ best bet of upsetting Greenville would be to channel their emotion.
“Every time you play them, it’s a new game,” Causey said. “I don’t think emotions can be a problem. Every game we play from this point on is a our last one, so it needs to be very emotional.”