Five local teams gear up for playoff runs
Five of Marengo County’s six high schools did enough in the regular season to be able to continue playing into the playoffs.
The theme from all five coaches is that everyone’s record is now 0-0, and what happened during the regular season no longer matters.
Each week in the playoffs could be the last for these teams, so players and coaches are preparing to play their best football each time they take the field from here on out.
Demopolis hosts B.C. Rain
The Demopolis Tigers won their region and earned the right to host the No. 4 seed from Class 5A, Region 1 in the opening round of the playoffs.
The No. 4 seed out of the Mobile region is the B.C. Rain Red Raiders, and DHS head coach Tom Causey said the Tigers’ preparations doesn’t change this week.
“We’re going to get ready for this game like we have all our other games,” Causey said. “We’re going to keep working on the fundamentals and what we do.”
Causey said B.C. Rain is an explosive team, meaning his Tigers will need to play sound defensively.
“We’re going to have to do a good job of gap control on defense,” he said. “They’re balanced offensively, but throw a little more than they run. They’ve got a big, physical tight end and a quarterback that can run it. We have to make sure our guys don’t take their eyes off their zone or their man.”
He added that he hopes to see a big crowd at Tiger Stadium on Friday.
“It’s always big to play at home in the playoffs, especially with the distance between these schools,” he said. “We get to have our pregame meal here, stay in our building and not have to get on the buses. We need our fans to show up in droves and support us Friday night.”
Patriots to welcome Chickasaw to town
Linden is riding high after a big win over Class 5A Dora last week but will refocus this week as they host the Chickasaw Chieftains on Friday.
Head coach Andro Williams said as long as his Patriots play their brand of football, they will be successful.
“We just need to continue doing what we’re doing,” he said. “We need to do a better job of blocking, tackling and taking care of the football. Those three things are the final point from here on out. If we do that, we’ll be in good shape.”
Williams said the key to slowing down Chickasaw’s offense will be containing their quarterback, Chandler Rigdon.
“He’s the one that makes them go in all dimensions of the game,” Williams said. “He’s their leading rusher, and he wants the ball in his hands. His coaches want the ball in his hands. We have to do a good job of handling him. When we get the opportunity to make a play, we need to take advantage of it.”
He added that having crowd support during home playoff games will be important for his players.
“We’ve got to get people in the stands,” he said. “It helps to have fans in the stands rooting on our young men.”
Longhorns play host to Springwood
Marengo Academy repeated as region champions this year and are looking to make a run to repeat as state champions as well.
The first step for the Longhorns will be against Springwood at noon on Friday at Linden Athletic Field.
MA head coach Robby James said his team just needs to keep working hard in practice.
“With our team, we just need to continue working hard in practice every day,” he said. “We can’t relax. It’s a new season now with the playoffs, and it’s a three-week deal if you keep winning. You have to plan for your opponent every week and try to advance.”
James said his team hasn’t really had a bad performance this season, and he wants to continue that through the next three weeks.
“We’re getting in the mindset that the regular season is over and it’s a privilege to still be playing,” he added. “It’s not easy to get to the championship game, and our kids know that.”
Sweet Water looks to repeat week 5 performance against R.C. hatch
Sweet Water will host the R.C. Hatch Bobcats Friday night at Nolan Atkins Stadium, which will be the second contest between the teams this season.
The Bulldogs defeated the Bobcats 49-24 in week five of the regular season, but Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson knows it’s never easy to defeat the same opponent twice in the same season.
“They’re a much-improved team, and it’s definitely hard to beat the same team twice,” he said. “It’s the playoffs, so one loss and you’re done. Our guys understand that.”
Thompson said Hatch runs the ball a lot better than they did earlier in the season, which will present a new challenge for the Bulldogs.
“They run the ball a whole lot more than they did,” he said. “We have to make sure we’re sound up front on defense, and we need to try to limit their possessions. On offense, we want to control the ball and the clock. We had a breakdown in kick coverage and pass coverage the last time we played them, so we’re working on correcting that this week.”
Eagles prepare to travel
The last four weeks haven’t been kind to coach Johnney Ford and the A.L. Johnson Eagles as they’ve dropped four games in a row.
“We’ve got a different approach this week,” Ford said. “It’s a new season, and we’re going to get back to what we did at the beginning of the season when we were playing well as a team.”
The Eagles will travel to Fruitdale on Friday to try to keep their season alive.
“We need to eliminate big plays and just get back to playing team ball,” Ford added. “They run the spread and have a quick back that gets a lot of yards after contact. We just need to get back to waht we were doing before.”