Demopolis readying for playoff opener against Sylacauga

Demopolis will host Sylacauga (8-2) Friday night in first round of the AHSAA Class 5A state playoffs. The matchup marks the first time the Tigers have played Sylacauga since the first round of the 2008 playoffs, the last game DHS played in Memorial Stadium.

For the Tigers, the Sylacauga matchup comes eight days after a loss to Class 6A Hillcrest that ended the Demopolis regular season at 8-2.

“It is little things. It’s hat placement. It’s the angles we’re taking and we got out-physicaled at the point of attack. Those are things that we have to correct and if we don’t get any better at it, we won’t play long,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said of his Tigers, which lost two straight games to end the regular season. “But I think we’ll get a lot better. It’s a new season. This is the great thing about playoff formats. I don’t care what level you’re playing at. You’re in. You’ve got a chance. The same thing goes for Sylacauga and every other team that’s in the bracket.”

Friday night, Demopolis will be forced to try and limit an offense that is very much akin to its own as Sylacauga also employs a spread option attack.

“They’ll be a mirror image of defending us. They’re spread option. They’re inside veer. They’re midline. Where we run the speed option, they run buck sweep,” Causey said. “They’re well coached. Scheme-wise, they have a plan. You see that plan. They’ll be a bear for our defense to defend. This week, probably the most important thing for our defense is to be disciplined and be where they are supposed to be.”

In defending Sylacauga’s spread option, Demopolis will attempt to bottle up a bevy of skill players that includes standout wide receiver Thomas Green

“In the option offense, I think there is no one guy. I think there are multiple guys. Their quarterback does a great job running the option. They’ve got three fullbacks that they play in there and they’ve got three or four A-backs that they rotate in and out of the slots. They’ve got one great receiver out there in No. 10. He makes plays,” Causey said. “You can’t get caught up in defending (the option) and forget about (Green) because he can get behind your secondary. If they throw it and he’s behind you, it’s a big play.”

In the eight days since the Hillcrest contest, Demopolis has worked to identify who will step into the wide receiver role vacated by senior go-to target Brock Montgomery, who sustained a knee injury prior to last Thursday night’s game.

“There’ll be one or two guys step up that nobody expects to. There’ll be somebody to fill that spot and make a play in the game Friday night that hasn’t made one all year. We’ve been really blessed this season as far as injuries go. Other than Justin Jones in week three who had a knee injury, we’ve been really blessed,” Causey said. “I know our kids will respond. Somebody will step up and fill those shoes. It may be more than one guy, but there will be somebody to fill those shoes.”

Demopolis and Sylacauga will kick off Friday at 7 p.m.