Demopolis looking to re-establish itself in rivalry

When Tom Causey put Thomasville on the schedule in 2008, the Demopolis head coach expected the annual contest would grow into the team’s most fierce rival. After four years of consistently playing against Demopolis’ neighbors to the south, it appears Causey was right.

I think it’s there. We have enough people who are kin to people who live in Thomasville and they have kinfolks here and the businesses intersect in so many ways. The communities are very similar. We’re going to play Dixie Youth softball and we’re going to play Cal Ripken baseball. And when we go to all-stars, we’re always going to cross paths with them. Our mayors have meetings together and our community leaders are meeting together on certain things. Some businesses that are locally owned here have businesses there and some businesses that are locally owned in Thomasville have businesses here,” Causey said. “With two communities this close together in proximity, sure it’s going to be a natural rivalry automatically.”

The two teams have met 37 times over the years with Demopolis holding a 24-13 lead in the series. The first contest came in 1922, a game that ended in a scoreless tie. The schools met again in 1926 for another contest that ended in a tie.

The teams did not meet again until 1948 when Demopolis pulled off a 6-0 victory. That game was the first in a string of seven straight years the teams played with Demopolis winning each season.

The rivalry renewed in 1963 for one season and picked back up for a four-year slate of meetings in 1965. Thomasville defeated Demopolis for the first time in 1968 with a 12-7 win, a victory that started a string of four straight for THS.

The longest stretch of meetings between the teams started in 1986 and ran through 1999. The teams split those 14 contests with seven wins apiece, the most lopsided stretch coming from 1992 through 1997, a span in which Demopolis went 6-0 against its Highway 43 cousins.

The state playoffs forced the renewal of the rivalry in 2004 and 2005 with Demopolis taking out Thomasville in the second round of the 2004 state playoffs on its way to a state championship and Thomasville bouncing DHS from the postseason in the third round in 2005.

During the current installment of the rivalry, Demopolis has dropped three games in a row and looks to change its fortune Friday night.

“On the field the last three years, it hasn’t been much of (a rivalry),” Causey said. “Those guys have taken care of business the last three years against us and it’s time for us to rise up and make it a challenge again.”

For Demopolis, doing that likely means performing with more urgency than the squad showed during a 42-19 win over Selma last week, a victory that saw the Tigers struggle for long intervals.

“I think we kind of took it for granted a little bit. Selma had fantastic athletes. We didn’t play with the same pop in our pads Friday night that we played with the previous three,” Causey said. “They played hard. We got a win. But it was not the same intensity level in the Selma game that it had been. We can’t even begin to come out that way this week.”

Aside from the nature of the rivalry and Demopolis’ desire to reestablish itself within the annals of it, Friday’s game at Thomasville marks the beginning of a six-week stretch in which the 4-0 Tigers must contend with THS, Greenville, Jackson and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.

“We’re going to learn a lot about (our players) Friday night. After Friday night’s game, win, lose or draw, we’ll know exactly what we’ve got to do to be a better football team the following week,” Causey said. “I love playing teams like Thomasville. They sure are a challenge and they are a bear to beat. Preparing for guys like that and competing with folks like that, when it’s all said and done and the dust settles, you know exactly what you’re good at and exactly what you’ve got to get good at. It’s going to be an awesome opportunity for us to find out exactly where we are. We’re probably going to go into that thing, because they’ve beaten us three years in a row, as an underdog. Going to their place with an inexperienced team, this ought to be a great opportunity for us to go out and let it all hang out and have fun playing the game.”