An ‘exciting’ opportunity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Straughn defenders Dakota Hall (46), Jordan McDaniel (58) and Chase Short (bottom) bring down Daleville’s Brandon Burks last week. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

It’s the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs for Straughn, and head football coach Trent Taylor, along with his coaches and players couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to meet second-ranked Dadeville on the field this Friday night.

“Over the last two to three weeks we’ve seen a maturation of a lot of these young men,” Taylor said. “We’re not going in to change up anything (offensively or defensively).

“You just hope the execution you’ve seen the last few weeks will continue to be there, and even see an improvement,” he said.

The Tigers (6-4) will face an undefeated Dadeville team that has lost a total of four games in the last four seasons (including 2011), and is no stranger to the post season.

DHS advanced to the third round of the state playoffs last season, where it fell to Thomasville, the team SHS lost to in the second round, also last year.

“They’re extremely talented obviously, or they wouldn’t be where they are,” Taylor said. “They have a real impressive resume to say the least.”

It all starts with DHS quarterback Kaleb Beck, who has thrown for 1,368 yards for a 62 percent completion rate and has 21 touchdowns. Beck has three interceptions this season, and suffered a concussion in the second to last game this season.

Likely targets for Beck are wide receiver Terry Toler and tight end Darrion Hutcherson. Toler, who has received interest from LSU and Oregon, is 6-foot-4, and has 23 receptions for 468 yards and seven touchdowns, and Hutcherson is at 6-foot-6, and has 20 receptions for 306 yards.

On the defensive line, DHS has four Division 1 ball players led by Rod Crayton, who has racked up 111 tackles this season. He averages 11.1 tackles per game.

With all of this on his team’s plate this week, Taylor said the kids are anxious to get out there this week to have the chance to play DHS.

“I think our kids are excited about being at this point, but at the same time they’re not satisfied about being where they are,” he said. “I haven’t seen that (satisfaction) from them.

“We were three weeks ago and looking as if we’re not even going to have a week 11,” he said. “I think all of us — coaches and players and fans — alike are extremely excited about being here. I think they understand that every year in every classificiation there are upsets every week.

“We know being the No. 4 seed that we’re going up against a quality opponent, no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

One thing that Taylor said he noticed about Dadeville in film study is that, other than the face that they run a spread offense, is that they are a “balanced” team when using either passing or a rushing attack.

“They would be just as happy to rush for only 300 yards to win the football game, and pass only 500 yards to win the football game,” Taylor said. “They are going to throw for an almost equal number of times as they are going to run.”

For now though, Taylor said the team is focusing on Dadeville and not what lies ahead for the team.

“I think they’ve done a really good job of understanding to take the here and now and don’t focus on the future,” he said.

Kick off in Dadeville is at 7 p.m.