November 5, 2009 10:22:00 AM
Lamar County High School football coach Ken Adams thinks it''s an accomplishment that his team made it through the regular season with an undefeated record.
But Adams and the Bulldogs want more.
Adams believes it won''t mean much if the Bulldogs don''t make it through the playoffs without a loss and complete their mission of going undefeated and winning a state championship.
Lamar County (10-0) will take what it hopes will be the first step in that journey at 7 p.m. Friday when it plays host to Red Bay (5-5) in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state playoffs.
"What they''ve done so far has really been great," Adams said. "What they''ve accomplished, they can be very proud of. But we could finish 10-1 and they wouldn''t be very satisfied because of the work they''ve put in. It''s one of those things where they''ve had a good year, but they want more. We''re going to see how much more they want."
Lamar County hopes to fare better in the playoffs than a year ago when it was 10-1 and lost to Tanner in the second round.
The Bulldogs also have their sights set on setting a school record for the most wins in a season. The record of 13 was established in 1984 and equaled in 1992.
The 1984 team won the state championship to cap a 13-1 season after winning only one game the year before, while the 1992 team lost the championship game to finish 13-1.
Lamar County would set a new school record with 14 wins if it wins in the semifinals and makes it to Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., for the state championship game.
"We''re only one of three teams that are undefeated (in Class 3A)," Adams said. "As good as this bunch has been, we''ve got to reach (the level of the other 13-win teams at the school). If we can reach that level, then we can add our names to that tradition."
Adams hopes to avoid a close call in the first round like when he was the head coach at Calera in 2004. The Eagles were 10-0 going into the playoffs and had to go into overtime to outlast Elba in the first round.
Adams believes Red Bay is a capable team despite its record.
"They''re a run-oriented team," Adams said. "They run traps. They run the option. They''re a run-it-at-you type team, so you''ve got to be able to defend those things. Defensively, they''re well coached. They''ll be ready for us."
The winner will play the winner of Friday''s Sulligent and Tanner game.
n Sulligent at Tanner: For the second year in a row, the Blue Devils will travel to Tanner for an AHSAA Class 2A state playoff game.
Sulligent claimed a 52-14 victory in the third round last season to spoil Tanner''s bid for an undefeated season. The Rattlers entered the game 12-0.
"Last year, we beat them pretty good in the third round," Sulligent coach Dwight Bowling said. "We know they''re going to be ready for us. We''re expecting a tough contest. I know I''d get mine ready if I knew somebody beat me that bad. I''d be reminding them."
Sulligent (7-3) has won four games in a row going into its game against Tanner (9-1).
Sulligent lineman Dakota Carruth has missed the past two games because of a sprained ankle, and he''s questionable to play against Tanner. He practiced Monday and wasn''t full speed.
n Keith at Pickens County: The Tornadoes will attempt to make up for losing to Gordo this past Thursday when they play host to Keith in the opening round of the AHSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
Pickens County (9-1) is coming off a 28-7 loss to rival Gordo.
"We''re excited about getting the playoffs started and getting that bad taste out of our mouths," Pickens County coach Scott Marchant said. "We didn''t play real well Thursday night against our country rival. We''ve got a lot of things we can improve on. We can use it to help us get better or we can let it destroy our confidence. I feel our kids are reacting pretty well to it. Our kids are pretty tough. They know what''s at stake. You either win or you go home. It''s pretty simple."
Keith (5-5) has averaged 48.7 points per game and has won its past three games in a row. The Bears beat R.C. Hatch 42-20, Francis Marion 52-28, and Calhoun 52-7.
"I know they have a bunch of athletic type of kids," Marchant said. "They''ve got quite a few impressive wins. They like to run the football. They''re like a lot of other teams we''ve faced in that they''re really committed to running the football."
n Aliceville at Trinity Presbyterian: The Yellow Jackets hope for a fresh start in the playoffs after losing their final three regular-season games.
Aliceville will look to get back on track after losing to West Blocton (14-0), to Gordo (42-18), and to Linden (40-0).
"The approach is to look at it as a new reprieve because it is," Aliceville coach Robin Tyra said. "It''s a new slate and a new game. I know what we''ve done wrong and what we need to do as a unit.
"I have no doubts about our potential. I don''t know how many people have heard the story about potential and reality. We have the potential. The reality is we haven''t played well the last three games. We''re just trying to put the wheels back on. The good thing is we have the opportunity to roll on."
Trinity Presbyterian (9-0) is the second undefeated team Aliceville will play in as many weeks.
n Pickens Academy at Edgewood Academy: The Pirates will face defending state champion Edgewood Academy on Friday in the first round of the Alabama Independent School Association Class 2A state playoffs.
"They''re real explosive offensively," said Pickens Academy coach Sam Pearson, whose team is 6-4. "They''re solid at every skilled position. We''re going to try to contain their offense the best we can and make the most of our opportunities when we have the ball. We expect our offense to be able to slow them down, though."
Pickens Academy last played Edgewood Academy (8-1) in 2007 and claimed a 41-19 victory.
"A couple of years ago they didn''t have anything and they''re world-beaters now," Pearson said. "They had a coaching change and I guess you could say they''ve renewed their commitment to having a winning program."
Pickens Academy quarterback Jacob Acker and quarterback/running back Kirk Lewis are questionable after suffering injuries against Tuscaloosa Academy this past Friday. Acker injured his knee in the first quarter, while Lewis injured his ankle in the second.
"Kirk has practiced," Pearson said. "We''ve held Jacob out of practice. It''s just a day-to-day thing with his knee. If we played (Wednesday) we''d probably hold him out, but we''re hoping by Friday he''ll be confident enough on his knee that we''ll be able to use him."