Demopolis hosting No. 1 Jackson Friday night

20150918 DHS vs Helena-4736Stacy Luker has looked across the field at a Danny Powell led team five times in his career. The contests came between 2006 and 2010, a stretch that saw Luker’s Sweet Water Bulldogs go 3-2 against Powell’s Leroy Bears.

Five years later, Powell is the head of a powerhouse Jackson program that is 51-6 under his tutelage and currently sits atop the ASWA poll as the No. 1 team in Class 5A. Powell brings his top-ranked squad to Demopolis Friday night, having outscored opponents 142-19 through four games.

20150918 DHS vs Helena-4763The Aggies have accomplished their dominance due in part to the dual-threat capabilities of much-improved starting quarterback Demarcus Williams.

“He’s a good football player. I watched last year’s film and just compared it to what I’ve seen this year. There really is no comparison. I guess it’s the reason he’s got a few offers as a quarterback,” Luker said of the Jackson signal-caller. “He sees the field well, throws a good ball and he can hurt you with his legs as well as his arm. He’s scary.”

While Williams is particularly adept at throwing the ball, Luker is painstakingly aware of Jackson’s ability to establish the run with both its signal-caller and starting tailback Michael Phillips.

“It’s probably about 50-50,” Luker said of the balance of Jackson’s offense. “The quarterback runs the ball well. They’ve got the Phillips kid that runs the ball well. He started for them last year and he has made some big runs on film. (Powell) wants to establish the run. He’s got some things that he likes to do – always has – running the football. He wants to establish that part of his game. With (Williams), they’re running the quarterback more than they have in the past.”

The difficulty in defending Williams is compounded as the Aggies possess no true go-to receiver, instead opting to involve a number of athletes in the passing game.

20150918 DHS vs Helena-4532“There’s never a shortage for skill down there and guys that can run. They don’t have that one go-to guy,” Luker said. “(Powell has) got five or six and he spreads it around a little bit better.”

Those embarrassment of riches at the skill positions works alongside an offensive line that may well be the toughest Demopolis has seen thus far in the 2015 campaign.

“Big and physical. They do a good job of getting on blocks and staying on blocks,” Luker said. “Danny (Powell) has always had a good group to work with wherever he’s been. They look athletic too. Not only are they big and physical, but they’re athletic too.”

Demopolis will, in all likelihood, look to utilize its power run game and ball control offense to control the clock and keep Jackson’s high-powered attack on the sidelines. Attempting to stop that game plan will be a Jackson defense that lines up in a 4-2-5 set.

“They’re real basic with it but they’re real athletic on defense, as always,” Luker said of the Aggie defense. “They’re very physical and they’re going to do a good job trying to control the line of scrimmage.”

With more eyes than usual cast upon Tiger Stadium thanks to the magnitude of the opponent, Luker has worked to keep the contest in perspective for his players.

“It’s a playoff preparation game. This is the type of game during the season that there is no playoff pressure, which is good. There’s no having to win this one to win the region. It’s just you’re playing a great football team,” Luker said. “I have told them during the week to enjoy the preparation. Enjoy the excitement. Enjoy the attention that it might get. This is why you play and you don’t get a lot of these during the regular season. Just enjoy it and get out there and turn it loose. There’s no pressure in this one. This is fun.”

Demopolis and Jackson are set to kick at 7 p.m. Friday night.