Tigers ready to play

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 8, 2012

Straughn’s Devin Scott (21) rushes for a gain during the Opp game almost two weeks ago. The Tigers have had an open week before their first round playoff game against Daleville tomorrow. | File photo

Straughn anxious to get on field at Daleville Friday

Straughn’s Tigers are ready to play some football.

After an open week, they’ll get their chance in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs as the Tigers travel to face sixth-ranked Daleville on Friday night.

DHS (10-0) is one of three Class 3A teams who are undefeated. The other two are top-ranked Piedmont and third-ranked Hamilton.

The Tigers’ three losses this season came to seventh-ranked T.R. Miller, Bayside Academy and Class 4A rival Andalusia.

“They’re undefeated for a reason,” SHS head football coach Trent Taylor said. “I told the kids (Monday), it doesn’t matter who you play. When you’re 10-0, that’s impressive. That just means you had to overcome some adversity at some point.”

Straughn’s journey to the post season carried it through Opp in week nine. The Tigers took a 13-0 lead at half time, and outscored the Bobcats 8-7 in the second half to secure the much-needed berth.

Daleville isn’t like Opp or T.R. Miller, who run out of the “I” formation, Taylor said.

“I think their philosophy is to spread you out and run the football,” he said. “They certainly have a weapon in their quarterback (Jonathan Pittman) who has an arm who will beat you throwing it.”

Like the Warhawks, the Tigers have senior starting quarterback Chase Short, who has been a main driving force for the option attack. SHS also has backs Devin Scott, Daryl George and Nigel Byrd who can pound the ball if needed.

“With what they do, we’ve got to stop three different people every day,” Daleville head football coach Brad McCoy said. “They’ve got the quarterback, the full back and the guy they could possibly pitch to.

“(Short’s) a heck of a player,” he said.

Taylor said it’s going to be about playing assignment football on offense tomorrow night.

“With what we do, it’s more about just being assignment conscious and being very disciplined on that side of the ball,” Taylor said. “I think that we’ve probably gotten to that point where you take one aspect of it away, the other aspect steps up. We weren’t like that earlier. I think their main emphasis is working on stopping the option.”

Other than Pittman, Daleville has offensive threats in running back DeMarcus Flowers and wide receiver Jacquez Coleman. The Warhawks also have 14 seniors on their roster this season and a strong junior class, McCoy said.

Straughn and Daleville aren’t strangers on the gridiron, playing each other in week 10 the last two seasons.

Taylor said the Warhawks won’t be surprised at what his Tigers do come Friday night.

“They’re accustomed to what we do (on offense),” Taylor said. “So consequently, we don’t know what we’ll see on defense. They’re a 3-4 defense and they’ll do a very good job with it, and they have. Both Opp and Miller did a good job of slowing us down in that defense. We may see something different.”

Daleville has been on the losing end the last two seasons, falling to SHS 41-27 last year and 12-6 in 2010.

McCoy said the Tigers are a “tough” team to get ready for in such a short amount of time.

“We’ve had some issues with them running the option,” the Warhawks coach said. “I think our team this year is a better football team than what faced them the past two years. I hope we can compete with them at a higher level. I know our kids are excited.”

Not as excited and anxious as Straughn, Taylor said.

The Tigers haven’t played a single down since the Opp win almost two weeks ago. Last week, SHS didn’t practice Monday or Friday. It held normal practice Tuesday through Thursday, though.

This week, SHS went back to its normal routine in preparation for tomorrow night.

Taylor said the time off was good for the team.

“Obviously, when the game gets closer, it seems like it’s been a month since we played last,” he said. “If it feels like that to me, you can only imagine what it must feel like for the kids. We had a really good week last week.

“They’re just ready to play,” he said. “When the season is over, there is this loss. I think last week, hopefully, was an eye-opening experience for them. It was kind of like we don’ thave anything to do. It was funny for some of us to watch, much like it is after the week of the season being over. I think they were thinking that we’ll gladly get back on the field and play harder to make this last as long as they can.”

Kick off in Daleville tomorrow night is at 7.