Demopolis, Sweet Water seek wins for shot at titles

Published 11:51 am Friday, December 1, 2017

Marengo County has two high school football teams remaining in the hunt for a state title berth — the Demopolis Tigers and Sweet Water Bulldogs.

Demopolis earned its way into the state semi-finals with last week’s victory over Vigor, 35-14. They will have to overcome the St. Paul’s Episcopal Saints who defeated Beauregard in the quarterfinals, 52-20.

In the final high school poll rankings of the season, which ended after the regular season, Demopolis was ranked eighth while St. Paul’s was ranked seventh.

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The Saints finished second behind Vigor in 5A’s Region 1. The setback to Vigor was the only loss for St. Paul’s who has an overall record of 12-1 on the season.

For the Tigers, this year’s trip to the semi-finals marks its eighth in school history with its current record in the previous seven games being 2-5.

Demopolis and St. Paul’s have met two previous times, with the Saints coming out with victories in both of those contests. The latest matchup was in 2015 when the Tigers fell to St. Paul’s 35-13. That season, St. Paul’s went on to win the state championship, the third in school history.

The Saints advanced through the playoffs with victories over Marbury, Carroll, and Beauregard, respectively.

Demopolis may rely on its defense, which has allowed an average of only 6.7 points through the three previous playoff rounds. Meanwhile, the Saints have averaged 45.7 points in its three playoff games.

Demopolis has paved its path to the semi-finals with wins over Williamson (21-0), Central-Clay County (17-6), and Vigor (32-14). The Tigers are looking to get to the state finals for the third time. Currently, they hold a perfect 2-0 record in state championship contests. Those championships came in 2004 and 2009.

Kickoff for the semi-final game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium in Demopolis.

Sweet Water vs. Wadley

Last week, the Sweet Water Bulldogs fell behind early to the previously top-ranked team in the state, Maplesville, but came back strong to advance in the playoffs with a 26-21 win over the Red Devils.

This week, the Bulldogs will travel to take on the Wadley Bulldogs who ended the regular season ranked fifth in the state. Sweet Water was ranked third in the final polling.

Wadley’s win in the quarter-finals last week blocked what could have been an all-Marengo County semi-final, when they defeated Marengo High School, 34-20. In the earlier rounds, Wadley defeated Pleasant Home and Isabella, respectively.

This year marks Wadley’s fifth appearance in the semi-finals, a hurdle they have yet to cross, having lost in each appearance and never making it to the finals.

Wadley is the champions of 1A’s Region 4, having a perfect record of 12-0.

Meanwhile, Sweet Water is in familiar territory, have made it to the state semi-finals 16 times in school history with a record of 11-5 in those games. In 12 appearances in the state finals, the Bulldogs are 9-3, having brought home the title trophy in 1978, 1979, 1982, 1986, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.

Sweet Water finished the regular season as champions of 1A’s Region 1. Their only loss of the season was in their first game of the season against Thomasville. They have gone on to defeat Notasulga, Brantley, and Maplesville in the playoffs.

Sweet Water and Wadley have met on two previous occasions with Sweet Water earning the victories in both of those contests. They last played in 2016 when Sweet Water edged Wadley, 21-20.

Sweet Water will travel to Randolph County for its kickoff against Wadley on Friday, beginning at 7 p.m.