Demopolis, St. Paul’s set for first round clash

20131101 DHS vs Hillcrest-2149Demopolis (7-3) hits the road Friday night for the first round of the AHSAA, Class 5A playoffs to take on the No. 2 seed out of Region 1, St. Paul’s.

In the Saints, Demopolis finds an 8-2 team on a four-game winning streak that has found considerable success running behind an exceptionally talented offensive front anchored by Alabama commit Josh Casher.

“Offensively, they run the football really well. They’ve got a couple of big offensive linemen, three good looking guys: Josh Casher, who is committed to the University of Alabama, his brother Darius Whitfield, who plays right beside him and a is a sophomore. They flip those guys around and then Tre Williams, the linebacker, plays some tight end for them.,” Demopolis High coach Tom Causey said. “They’ve got a great tailback, Ostin McPherson, and his backup, Eugene Moseley. Those guys are hard-nosed guys that run a lot bigger than they are. They are 165 and 185 pounds and they run like they’re 205 or 220. We’ll have to do a great job of tackling and getting multiple hats on them and being physical at the point of attack.”

20131101 DHS vs Hillcrest-2047The Tigers will challenge that offensive front with a defensive line that includes Georgia Tech commit Tyler Merriweather, standout interior player Hollis Bright and the versatility of players such as Lane Hawkins, Tim Bonner and Rahmeel Cook.

On the other side of the ball, the Saints will employ a capable defensive in its attempt to limit Demopolis and its option attack.

“Defensively, they are a multiple front. They’ll play four-man and three-man front. Their linebackers, Todd Volkman and Tre Williams, are as good of football players as we’ve seen this year,” Causey said. “Their secondary is really good. I think their two safeties and both corners are good tacklers. They’re physical. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. You don’t see a lot of balls get behind them. They’re older guys. They’re juniors and seniors. They’ve played a lot of football at St. Paul’s and have seen pretty much everything you can see thrown at you from Region 1.”

St. Paul’s has won by 28 points each of the last two weeks and heads into the playoffs having scarcely been tested since early October. Conversely, Demopolis is fresh off a 60-59 double-overtime road victory against Hillcrest just a week after it lost 22-21 to Jackson.

20131101 DHS vs Hillcrest-2583“Our will to not give up. I’m really pleased with our guys for never quitting, continuing to battle and finding a way to get a team win. That was impressive the way they kept fighting,” Causey said of his squad’s win from a week ago.

As the season has moved along, Causey has seen his team exhibit a deeper sense of urgency in its play. That fact, the veteran coach said, is a natural byproduct of the Tigers’ circumstances.

“I think it’s natural for any team toward the end of the year to start realizing it’s coming,” Causey said. “But when you’ve got a group with as many seniors as we’ve got, then I think it becomes really important to them and they realize the end is near.”