November 12, 2009 9:02:00 AM
A year ago, the Tanner High School football team knocked the Lamar County Bulldogs out of the state playoffs.
Lamar County will get a chance to avenge that setback Friday when it meets Tanner in a playoff rematch.
Like last year, the rematch will be in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
The difference is Lamar County will play host the rematch in Vernon, Ala.
"We knew we''d have the winner of the Sulligent-Tanner game," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "I know a lot of people wanted us to play Sulligent. We had already played Sulligent. As long as we played this week we didn''t care who we played. Being that Tanner is the team that put us out last year, we wanted another shot at them."
In other playoff games Friday involving West Alabama teams, Pickens County will play host to Goshen in Class 2A.
Lamar County (11-0) lost to Tanner (10-1) 14-7 last year in a steady rain and muddy conditions.
Keith Myles, a senior on last year''s team, scored Lamar County''s only touchdown in the third quarter on a 5-yard run. He also kicked the extra point.
"It rained from the moment we pulled into Limestone County," Adams said. "It was a situation where it wasn''t the rain last year. There''s no excuses. They whipped us. They controlled the line of scrimmage on the offensive and defensive side. They had a couple of big long runs. Looking back at the film from last year, they whipped us. They were the better football team. They deserved it. We got about as far as we needed to go."
Adams said he doesn''t have to use last year''s game to motivate his players.
"They know," Adams said. "The kids understand the importance of moving on to the next round, and that''s what kind of drives our kids. They''re not worried about what happened last year. Our goals are we want to play as long as we can. We want to play when it''s cold. We want to play in the big games."
Lamar County has won its past 10 games at home. The Bulldogs haven''t lost on their field since a 40-19 setback to Sulligent the fourth game of last season.
Lamar County is 6-0 at home this season, outscoring its opponents 299-45. The Bulldogs are averaging 49.8 points and allowing 7.5 points per game on their turf.
Adams'' team has shut out three opponents at home this season, including back-to-back weeks against Isabella and Red Bay.
"Our kids love playing at home," Adams said. "That''s a big plus for our kids, for our community. Last year, we had to travel two and a half hours (to play Tanner), and this year in the second round we don''t have to. We play well at home and we hope to continue to play well at home."
Lamar County has shut out its past three opponents overall, and has four shutouts this season. The Bulldogs have allowed 121 points (average of 11 points per game).
"The coaches do a great job of scouting," Adams said of the Bulldogs'' success on defense. "They do a great job of putting our kids in position to make plays. Coach (Heath) Pennington, coach (Justin) Lann, coach (Tim) Bobbitt, and coach (David) Easley do a great job."
n Goshen at Pickens County: The Tornadoes also will play host to a team they met in the playoffs last season.
Pickens County defeated Goshen 27-14 in the first round last season.
"We had a great game with Goshen last year," Pickens County coach Scott Marchant said. "They had a lot of good players. We''re looking forward to it. We think it''s going to be a great game, a great matchup. It ought to be very entertaining."
Pickens County (10-1) is coming off a 57-24 victory against Keith in the first round of the playoffs, while Goshen (8-3) beat Fultondale 50-32 to advance.
"They were excellent last year and they''re a very good football team this year," Marchant said. "They''ve got a lot of speed. They''ve got two great running backs. They get after you on defense. They''re just a very well-coached football team."
Marchant expects to see a different look in the rematch from Goshen, which is coached by Joe Thornton.
"You can go back and look at the film and see how their kids have matured from last year to this year," Marchant said. "It''s kind of interesting to see that. They''re doing a lot of different stuff. They''re not running the same offense or defense they did last year. You can learn something from the kids and seeing how they''ve matured, but really it''s a whole new ballgame."
Marchant, the team''s defensive coordinator last season, didn''t recall much from last year''s game against Goshen.
"I went back and watched it again after our ballgame Friday night," Marchant said. "It was just a really good football game. It was just a good physical football game."
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