Tigers prep for Wildcats

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Demopolis will likely face one of its toughest challenges of the season Saturday when it takes on Louisville (Miss.) at Spain Park High School in the Alabama vs. Mississippi Gridiron Challenge.

“They are extremely well coached, very athletic,” Demopolis High head coach Tom Causey said of the Wildcats, a team that is perennially ranked in Mississippi’s Class 4A.

The Wildcats scored an upset win in its Jamboree game two weeks ago before falling to New Hope (Miss.) last week.

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“They were probably a little bit lax in their prep for New Hope,” Causey said. “They are a lot better than they showed on film against New Hope. They are one of the top teams in 4A in the state of Mississippi and we are going to have a great challenge Saturday.”

The Wildcats will take to the field with a spread offense loaded at the skill positions. Causey anticipates Louisville will likely work to keep the defense honest.

“They are a spread offense. They try to run the football in zone runs. They are athletic and they spread the field on you because they are very athletic in their skill guys,” Causey said. “They’ve got two great backs, a great quarterback and four different wideouts they run in there. You can’t just go in and defend the pass.”

The highest profile target in the Louisville attack is wide receiver C.J. Bates. A 6-2, 195-pound senior, Bates reportedly has offers from Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis and Kentucky.

“Tall, fast, quick, great hands, smart football player,” Causey said of Bates. “We’re going to have to do some things in coverage to keep him from beating us.”

While Louisville is looking to rebound from a loss last week, the Tigers are aiming to build on the momentum they mustered in a 27-12 Jamboree win over Class 6A Robert E. Lee.

“I was really pleased with our effort and attitude,” Causey said. “We played well as a team.”

The Tigers had their fair share of mistakes in the exhibition game. Many of those miscues came on the offensive side of the ball where the Tigers struggled with turnovers. Despite the miscues, Causey said he was largely pleased with the offensive effort, especially given the lack of experience on the offensive line. That group saw one of its key players, Steven Foster, sit out the Jamboree game after sustaining a concussion in practice. That meant the Tigers carried in three new offensive line starters to last week’s contest.

“I thought they did a really good job,” Causey said. “It was the first time to be one the field for three of those guys. They made their share of mistakes. We’ve got to get better, but they did well.”

The offensive line was good enough to help produce a quartet of successful runners in the contest. Starting quarterback Tucker Jones ran for 71 yards on 13 carries before exiting the game one possession into the third quarter when the Tigers turned to their reserve units.

Backup quarterback Tyler Oates ran for 53 yards on 12 carries. Reserve running back Tre Dotson toted the ball seven times for 41 yards while freshman Rashad Lynch ran three times for 37 yards.

“I think our entire second group did a great job Friday night,” Causey said. “They actually did better in the game than they had been doing in practice.”

The Tigers are set to kickoff against the Wildcats at 3 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at Demopolis High School until 6 p.m. through Thursday and up to noon on Friday. Every ticket purchased directly from Demopolis High School will see $8 go toward the DHS athletic department. Tickets purchased at the gate will see only one-eighth of the proceeds return to Demopolis High School.