Demopolis looking to sharpen focus as Calera awaits

(Photo by Johnny Autery)  After losing his helmet, Matt Dauphin hangs on for the shoestring tackle against Thomasville's Alexander White during last week's season opener.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
After losing his helmet, Matt Dauphin hangs on for the shoestring tackle against Thomasville’s Alexander White during last week’s season opener.

The season may be new but the time for urgency is now for the Demopolis High School football team as they open region play Friday with a tough road contest at Calera (1-0).

“They had to develop it last week,” Demopolis coach Tom Causey said of how quickly his players need to access the sense of urgency necessary to navigate region play. “Every region game is huge. If you don’t think so, mess around and lose one and you’ll be in the third slot, playing on the road in the first round of the playoffs.”

The Tigers head into what could be the most challenging game of their region schedule just one week after falling 18-14 to Thomasville in their season opener.

While the Tigers struggled with turnovers and penalties in the contest, Causey said he was pleased with the performance of his team’s defense.

“I like what we did defensively all night long,” Causey said. “We had a couple busts. We missed some tackles during the game, but you have to give credit to Thomasville.”

The Tigers found themselves in position to go up 14-0 early in the contest before the drive stalled thanks in large part to untimely penalties. That proved to be a theme throughout the contest as Demopolis incurred 10 infractions on the night.

“Offensively, we had big play opportunities that killed us,” Causey said. “We had 10 penalties and I thought five of those were effort penalties and five were lack of focus penalties. You cut those in half and you’re looking at a different ballgame.”

The Tigers will be looking to shore up that focus this week as they encounter an Eagles squad that handled a formidable Bibb County squad 28-8 a week ago.

“They’re big up front on both sides of the ball. They do a really good job of running the football,” Causey said of the Eagles. “ShaKeith Tyes is a big, strong running back. He is a really good back and then they have a change of pace guy, Kyle Harrell, that they run in there. He is extremely quick.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Calera is characterized best by a quick first unit that is known for getting to the point of attack.

“Defensively, they run to the ball really well,” Causey said. “Harrell is another guy that plays outside backer for them that makes a lot of plays. Then they have a middle linebacker, Michael Johnson, who is as good of a mike backer that we’ve seen in a long time. He does a really good job of tackling and stopping the run. They totally shut down Bibb County’s run game and forced them into throwing it all night.”

After mustering only 170 yards of offense on 54 snaps against Thomasville in the opener, Demopolis will be pressed to tighten up its attack quickly as it tangles with Calera’s defense this week.

The teams are set to kick off at 7 p.m. at Ricky M. Cairns Memorial Stadium Friday at 7 p.m.