Tigers prep for Toros

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After cruising through the third round, the Tigers now must welcome what may be their toughest opponent to date in Spanish Fort.

Despite a couple of setbacks in region play, much of the credible opinion coming from the South end of the state is that the Toros have the most balanced team in Class 5A, Region 1.

“They are fundamentally sound,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said of the only squad standing between the Tigers and a trip to the state championship round. “They are extremely physical and extremely well coached.”

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In the Toros, the Tigers must be prepared for Patrick McGavin and Otis Smith, a pair of dual-threat athletes who have split time at quarterback this season.

McGavin accounted for all three of the Toros’ third round scores against Briarwood last weekend.

“He’s big. He’s physical. He’s the leader on their offense and he’s going to be extremely hard to tackle,” Causey said.

McGavin and Smith have the advantage of running behind an offensive line that includes Reese Dismukes, a 6-foot, 3-inch, 290-pound center who has had little problem with most of the defensive linemen he has blocked this season.

“They are big and fast as well. Most of the teams down in Mobile are that way,” Causey said. “We’re going to have to do some things to kind of level the playing field.”

For the Tigers, the task is simple; maintain focus.

“We’re going to have to stay focused on what our jobs are as individuals; stay focused and have a great week of preparation and come out ready to play on Friday.”

That week of preparation is especially important as the Tigers are knocked from their routine due to the Thanksgiving holidays.

Causey has encountered such scheduling conflicts before en route to to a state title win. The veteran coach stated that team leadership is key to maintaining effectiveness.

“It is important to have a team that has leaders on it and focus,” Causey said. “I don’t think it is a big deal if you have a team with leadership or focus. Right now, we have both.

“I think it is big for any team this time of year to have leadership.”

As they ready for Spanish Fort, the Tigers are also attempting to continue improving every area of their game. Causey emphasized constant improvement as a necessity for success.

“We’ve got to just keep working hard at everything we’re doing,” he said. “We’ve got to stay focused on our jobs, stay focused on the task at hand.

Demopolis hosts Spanish Fort Friday night in a game scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.