Demopolis prepping for tough Greenville defense

Bobby Taylor knocks down a pass last week against Thomasville

Bobby Taylor knocks down a pass last week against Thomasville

Demopolis returns to region play Friday night when it hosts Class 5A, Region 3 foe Greenville.

The contest will mark the 15th meeting all time between the schools with Demopolis having won four of the six clashes during the Tom Causey era.

In the Black and Gold Tigers, Demopolis encounters an opponent that is fresh off a 27-26 loss to Class 4A Charles Henderson, a setback that put Greenville’s season mark at 2-3 on the season.

Despite the record, Causey is wary of the formidable front and athletic skill players that make up the GHS roster.

“They’re dang good athletes. They’re big up front. They’re very similar size wise to Thomasville up front. Incredible speed at the skill positions. They play with three different quarterbacks and three different running backs. They’re all interchangeable. They’re all about the same size and the same speed. They’re explosive,” Causey said. “In the film against Charles Henderson, they rip off about four straight runs of 10, 12, 15 yards and they’re in the end zone. When they find a crack, they start hitting it. They’re really good at what they do.”

Greenville utilizes a similar formula on the defensive side of the ball where it employs an imposing defensive front and a speedy collection of players in the linebacking corps and secondary.

The Demopolis defense swarms a Thomasville ball carrier last week.

The Demopolis defense swarms a Thomasville ball carrier last week.

“To me, they’re as good in their front as anybody we’ll play all year long. They’re secondary is very physical. They don’t miss a lot of tackles. They’re two inside backers are great downhill players. They get a key and they’re gone,” Causey said. “They’re three down linemen that they play with, generally in the films we saw, they occupy five linemen because they are that good.”

Causey is aware of exactly how good that defensive group is after the 21-6 grinder his team played in Greenville last season.

In that contest, Demopolis came away with a win despite being out gained 220-210 by Greenville and surrendering 14 first downs as opposed to accumulating just nine of its own.

“Last year when we played over there, they pretty much owned the line of

scrimmage against us on that side of the ball and it was a grind-it-out kind of night where we got opportunities to score and our defense gave us field position,” Causey said. “We’re going to have to try to do a better job this year of sustaining drives and getting first downs.”

Roderick Davis scored on runs of 81, 90 and 13 yards last week against Thomasville

Roderick Davis scored on runs of 81, 90 and 13 yards last week against Thomasville

First downs were not a key statistic for Demopolis last week against Thomasville when it entered half with a 28-9 lead despite not having moved the chains once.

“Offensively, we had big plays. I thought our edge guys did a fantastic job of blocking down the field in order for us to finish long runs,” Causey said, crediting receivers Matt Eicher, Cortez Lewis and Ryan Schroeder with having made key blocks throughout the night. “And the offensive line did a really good job of opening up holes for us to start a long run. When the defense is playing the way they were, it was either going to be hit us in the mouth or have an opportunity for a big play.”

Causey was also complimentary of his defense’s effort throughout the night, but did not that there are still considerable gains that must be made.

“Defensively, I thought we did a really good job of squeezing the box and making the ball bounce. We missed too many tackles during the night when we had opportunities,” Causey said. “Early in the game we had a couple of blown assignments on coverage stuff. I’m scared to death every time we play a Wing-T team. You start getting your eyes in the backfield and Thomasville does such a good job with play action, we had the tight end open a couple of times and nobody near him.”

Causey also noted the individual effort of cornerback Bobby Taylor, who was targeted numerous times throughout the evening but never relented in man coverage.

“I think we played harder for 48 minutes than we have this year,” Causey said. “That’s something that we’ve got to build on and keep going with. It’s not something you can do one day and not the next. That’s a direct result of being able to practice with some intensity and some tempo and I thought we did that last week. I thought we had a good week of practice. So we have to continue that this week because we’re going to play a really good football team.”

Demopolis and Greenville are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.