Demopolis 12U team bows out of playoffs

The Demopolis 12U football team will cheer its younger counterparts on Saturday after watching its season end  in the Alabama Youth Football Association playoffs last week.

The No. 3 seed 12U Tigers fell to Hillcrest 14-7 in the South bracket, getting its lone touchdown of the day from Antonio Besteder.

Head coach Joe Tidmore credited his team for its gritty performance all season long, pointing to Andrew Patterson, Jackson Lay, Russ Logan, A.J. Jackson, Taco Johnson and Dawson Lay as standout players in the Tigers’ final game of the season.

“We only had three total players who had ever played in the 11-12-year-old league,” Tidmore said. “We started playing well. Three of the games we lost, two of them were by one point. We were right there and had a chance to win every game. We were real competitive. It was a team we could’ve won the whole thing with. They were on the bubble that close.”

Tidmore has been a part of the Demopolis Youth Football League since its inception five years ago. He has watched as the first group to play in the league – which puts all of Demopolis’ youth players on one team against opponents from other cities – has advanced to become key contributors as high school juniors on the DHS team.

“My judgment of that is talking to (Demopolis High head coach Tom) Causey. The first group that we coached in this league are juniors this year. From a knowledge standpoint and on little things, he can see the difference. Simple things like angles and tackling and all seem to be something that are easier for him to work with,” Tidmore said of the effect the league has had on the city’s football programs. “This is the first group that has played together as a group since they were seven. I think we’re just now starting to see in high school the benefits of playing this youth league.”

While the season ended early for the 12U team, Tidmore said he is pleased with the strides the group made and anticipates a competitive group to return next season.

I was very proud of the progress they made from day one to that last game. They got better. They did what we asked them to do and they worked hard. The only reason we lost the game is a few bad things happened with executing but their effort was there,” Tidmore said. “I’m real excited about the group that can stay with us next year. It is going to be a very talented group.”

The 8U and 10U Demopolis teams are still competing in the playoffs and will host semi-final games Saturday morning. The 8U Tigers open the action at 9 a.m. against Hale County in the semi-finals of the Rookies division while the 10U Tigers take on Hale County at 10:30 a.m. in the semi-finals of the Juniors division.