Tigers set to tussle in Thomasville
One of the most intense, physical rivalries in recent years resumes Friday night when Demopolis travels to Thomasville. The last time the two Tiger teams tangled, Thomasville bested the Tigers in the 2009 regular season finale.
Since that time, Demopolis has won a Class 5A state title while Thomasville has climbed to No. 2 in Class 4A.
“It’s a big game against a very good team,” Thomasville head coach Jack Hankins said. “You’ve got to always be playing your best. And with Demopolis, the defending 5A state champs coming in here, you want to be even better.”
“It’s another game that we are excited about playing,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey added. “And it helps that they are 45 minutes away and our fans are familiar with their fans. Familiarity will breed competition.”
The contest will pit Demopolis’ spread option against Thomasville’s Wing-T attack. The 5A Tigers will run a 3-4 defense while the 4A Tigers will utilize multiple fronts.
“Offensively they run the Wing T and they’ve got four or five backs and a quarterback that are as good as anybody we’ll see,” Causey said. “They’ve got big, physical offensive linemen. Their asset on defense is running to the ball.”
Thomasville will be Demopolis’ biggest test since a season-opening game against Briarwood Christian. Likewise, Thomasville will face its biggest challenge since tussling with Sweet Water in the first week of the season.
“We play hard,” Hankins said of what he has learned of his team through the first four weeks of the season. “We’ll hit. We’ll hustle. And I see that we’ve got great team chemistry right now.”
Hankins hopes that chemistry continues this week as Thomasville readies for a six-week stretch that includes Demopolis, Jackson and UMS-Wright. With so many intense match-ups on the docket, Hankins said he believes his players understand the need for maintaining good work habits.
“I think it might help us focus a little better because you want to play good when you play your rivals,” Hankins said.
Demopolis faces its own murderers’ row beginning Friday, a six-week stretch that includes Demopolis, Paul Bryant, Greenville and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.
Regardless of what happens the remainder of the season, both head coaches anticipate 48 minutes of physical, challenging football.
“They are going to physical every time out,” Causey said of Thomasville. “They are going to bring it. The intensity level has got to go up every day in practice.”
“Demopolis will be very physical and intense and will be read to play Thomasville,” Hankins added. “You’ve got to be ready in all phases when you play them.”