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Tigers tangle with Bulldogs Friday

Senior Ben Pettus throws during an 11-on-11 scrimmage between DHS and SWHS. -- Jeremy D. Smith | The Demopolis Times

Demopolis gets rolling down the road toward a repeat Friday night when the reigning Class 5A state champions host Sweet Water for a Jamboree game.
As his team goes through its final test before opening the regular season against Briarwood Christian next Friday night, Demopolis head coach Tom Causey knows exactly what he hopes to see against the perennial Class 1A powerhouse this week.
“We expect a great effort,” Causey said. “We expect a lot of mistakes because it is the first time we have lined up against somebody else. But we expect great effort.”
One of the great challenges every coach faces during Jamboree events is knowing exactly how long to play his starters. Causey said that question has already been answered.
“(Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker) and I have agreed to go two series in the second half and be done,” Causey said of how long his starters will play. “I don’t know if that is too much. But you want to get them enough to know the feeling of starting the game and coming out of the locker room for the second half.”
In Sweet Water, Causey knows exactly what kind of opponent his team will have as it prepares for the rigors of a Class 5A schedule. The Bulldogs had won four out of five Class 1A state championships prior to last year’s third round stumble against Loachaphoka. The Bulldogs are 88-18 under Luker and have garnered a reputation of being a physical, hard-nosed football team.
“I know they are well-coached and well-organized,” Causey said of the Bulldogs. “Any time you can play somebody like that in a Jamboree game and it not be on the record, you want to do it.”
While the contest is an exhibition game, it promises to the feel of something more as the squads are both regarded as defensive-minded run teams that thrive on physical play.
“Heck yeah,” Causey said when asked if he expected the contest to be physical. “I hope it is. I know Sweet Water is going to be physical. I hope we play the same brand of football regardless of who is on the field, whether it be our ones and twos or our threes.”
The game will also feature two of the state’s highest profile recruits in Sweet Water’s Chris Landrum ó a linebacker who committed to Auburn earlier this year ó and DaMarcus James, the running back who grabbed regional attention when he rushed for 296 yards on 42 carries in the Class 5A state title game in 2009.
The Bulldogs will open the season at traditional rival Thomasville next week while Demopolis goes on the road to Briarwood Christian.