Demopolis preparing for fast, physical Thomasville team

Demopolis head coach Tom Causey makes no bones about the task that awaits his team Friday night when it travels to Thomasville.

“They make you work so hard to defend them. They do a fantastic job coaching them up. Look at the amount of games they have won in the last five years,” Causey said. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Thomasville has won 55 games under the tutelage of Jack Hankins Jr., a stretch that includes a 3-1 record against Highway 43 rival Demopolis.

“It does not matter what classification they play. It doesn’t matter if it’s Daphne or if it’s Sweet Water or Demopolis or Jackson. It doesn’t matter who they play,” Causey said. “Every time they play, they expect to win. They play hard and they play fast.”

Over the last four meetings since the teams renewed their rivalry in the 2008 season, Thomasville has outscored Demopolis 140-82. While the familiar names of Tyler Hayes and Jon Knight have moved onto Division I careers at Alabama and Troy respectively, Thomasville presents itself once again as a dangerous team. The maroon and gray Tigers enter Friday’s non-region contest have scored at least 35 points in every game this season, including the 42 they hung on the board in their only loss to-date, a setback suffered at the hands of UMS-Wright.

The engine of the Thomasville offense this season has been the playmaking ability of senior starting quarterback Tevin Watters.

“Tevin Watters has matured so much over the last three years. He’s played so many snaps of football for Thomasville. He has always had a great arm. It looks like, on film, that he understands exactly what their coaches want him to do on particular pass plays and run plays. Even if it is a pass play, he understands that, if it’s third and 6 and its not there, I’m getting the first down with my legs,” Causey said of Thomasville’s dual-threat weapon. “They’ve got really good receivers at every position and their backs do a great job of catching the ball out of the backfield and they’ve got speed at all those skill positions. To defend the pass and get people in coverage, Tevin can beat you running the football. You’ve got to have a happy medium there somehow or another to be able to contain him and still be able to defend the vertical game and their skill guys.”

In defending such a daunting offensive unit,  the task on Demopolis is simple:  tackle. According to Causey, making the play at the point of attack will be paramount to Demopolis’ success Friday night.

“Don’t miss tackles. They had a big part to do with us missing as many as we did last year. They had over 200 yards rushing last year after contact. It was them making the plays we didn’t make,” Causey said, recalling a 2011 defeat against Thomasville in which DHS surrendered 55 points. “When we get opportunities to put them on the ground, we have to put them on the ground. It can’t be three, four or five guys missing a guy on a particular play. We get our hat and hands on somebody, we’ve got to wrap up and we’ve got to get a lot of hats to the ball to help him out.”

Demopolis will counter with a high-powered attack of its own as it makes the trip south to Clarke County with a group that has posted more than 40 points in every game during the team’s 4-0 start to the campaign. The challenge will be considerable for Demopolis Friday as it looks to keep its offense clicking against a team that has long prided itself on defense.

“Things don’t change a whole lot down there. Even some of the kids playing, they’re different names but same numbers. They’ve got a noseguard playing that is 6-8, 400 pounds. He’s a tremendously large guy that is a space eater. He doesn’t move a whole lot outside of the A gaps, but he doesn’t have to,” Causey said. “Their defensive line is fast and their linebackers are faster and when you get to the secondary, they even go faster than that. They love playing defense and they are physical. They’ll have eight, nine, 10 guys around the ball at all times. When you play defense like that, it seems like there are a lot more guys over there than there are. They swarm to the football like a championship team should.”