Only getting better

Published 12:01 am Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red Level’s Raheem Bullock gains yardage during an earlier game this season. The Tigers will travel to play top-ranked Elba this Friday night. | Kendall J. Davis/For the Star-News

After securing the No. 3 seed in Class 2A, Region 2, and earning a trip to the playoffs with a 57-44 win over Zion Chapel last week, Red Level coach Tony Ingram said the only thing his team can do against top-ranked Elba Friday night is to get better.

“I told our kids that you’ll find out what you’re made of,” Ingram said about the game. “Ric Flair, the wrestler would say, ‘if you want to beat a man, then you’ve got to beat the man’ — we’ve got the man.”

Elba has climbed the rankings throughout the season, and is currently the No. 1 seed in Region 2. Elba is undefeated at 8-0 overall, and 6-0 in the region.

Even though Elba lost a few key players last year due to graduation, Ingram said it’ll still be a “task.”

Ingram also said despite the outcome, he feels good about his team making the playoffs. The last time the Tigers made an appearance was in 2006, where they finished in the second round.

“We want to win, but win or lose, we’re still the third seed going into the playoffs,” he said. “We want to win, but don’t get me wrong and think we’re going into it like it doesn’t matter.

“Every time we tee it up, we want to win,” he said. “It just takes the element of pressure off of you when you know you’re locked in that spot.”

Ingram said Elba likes to run its offense in the spread formation, relying on the option attack.

“The option has given us some trouble,” he said. “We have been working on that this week, just working on assignments.”

Red Level (4-4, 4-2) will play the No. 2 seed out of Region 1, which will more than likely be Southern Choctaw, Ingram said.

Southern Choctaw will be playing J.U. Blacksher this week. J.U. Blacksher’s only win this season came against Florala in week five.

Ingram added that he’s “glad” to be back in the playoff race.

“We don’t care where we go, we’re just glad to be back in it,” he said. “These seniors were basically eighth graders the last time we were in. We want to get a taste of it, and want to get back.

“Until they’re in that atmosphere, they don’t know what it’s like,” he said. “Anything can happen, and everybody’s basically even.”

Kickoff in Elba is at 7 p.m., and Ingram said he hopes the crowd will follow the Tigers this week.

“We want our folks to follow us,” Ingram said. “Our crowds have been great all year. It means so much to these kids to see the crowd out there on their feet cheering them on. They just feed off of it.”