Tigers face tough task in Saraland

DHS vs Citronelle-8507Demopolis coach Tom Causey is not hiding from the fact that Friday’s region clash with Saraland is a big game for his team.

“This game is tremendously big,” Causey said of his Tigers’ impending matchup with the 2-0 Spartans. “This week in our region is huge. The four teams who won last week and are 1-0 are playing each other.”

The Demopolis and Saraland matchup comprises one half of the contests that will determine the two teams who will enter week four tied atop Class 5A, Region 3. The other half of that formula is Greenville against Jackson.

“Every region game is tremendously big. You lose one and it puts you in a situation where, now you’re fighting out of a hole. And the rest of the year, you’re waiting on a loss and you’re hoping for somebody else to help you out,” Causey said. “Your destiny is in your own hands and every region game is tremendously large. I don’t think that there is a bad football team in our area. I think we’ve got at least six teams in our region that are a playoff caliber team in a year that I think 5A South is as good as it has ever been.”

Among those teams Causey considers to be playoff threats is a Saraland squad that has outscored opponents 113-24 over the season’s first two weeks.

DHS vs Citronelle-8753“They scored over 100 points through the first two games and haven’t given up hardly any,” Causey said. “They faced a quarterback from Faith Academy in week one who has committed to Miami and they held him down.”

For the Tigers, putting points on the board means finding success against a defense that will show odd-man fronts and frequently morph into even fronts while proving adept at getting hats to the ball.

“Defensively, they’re pretty simple at what they do, but they’re dang good at it,” Causey said. “They run a three-man front and they are going to get to a four-man front in some way or another just about 100 percent of the time.”

Slowing Saraland down will be a different beast entirely for Demopolis as the Spartans mix an effective scheme with quality athletes and good coaching.

“They are very well coached. What they do is very good. Offensively, they’ve got a senior quarterback who does as good of a job with the football as I’ve seen in a long time in their offense, a Pro Style offense. They’ve got a great tailback who is as good of a player as we’ll tackle all year long. He’s about 190 pounds, a big, strong kid,” Causey said. “They are multiple formations on offense and run a lot of the same plays out of those formations. It’s really hard on the defense because you’ve got to align to the different formations but still be able to defend certain plays.”

DHS vs Citronelle-8653While the Spartans are capable of finding multiple targets in the passing game, they have also proven efficient at getting their ground game going. That fact combined with the talent of their tailback has Causey expecting a run-heavy attack off of which the remainder of the offense will be built.

“The game may be short this week. The clock may not ever stop. They’re banging it. We’re banging it. It’s going to be a quick football game,” Causey said.

For the Tigers, the challenge may be just as much of a mental obstacle as a physical as the team is coming off a 31-14 win over Citronelle in which it trailed 14-7 at half.

“We went up 7-0 real quick. We get it back down inside their 20 real quick. And all of a sudden it was like our guys thought, ‘Well, this is going to be easy.’ That Citronelle bunch didn’t run away. They hung in there and fought and we knew they would,” Causey said. “We’ve got to be more focused from the jump (Friday). That starts in practice. That starts before we even get to Mobile County. We have to be focused Monday through Thursday leading up to it and then we have to be zeroed in Friday night when we get there. It’s going to be a heck of a football game. We’ve got to go down there with our minds right and play well. This is going to be a four-quarter war Friday night and we have to prepare ourselves for it.”

Demopolis and Saraland are scheduled to kickoff Friday at 7 p.m. in Saraland. x