September 1, 2010 9:59:00 AM
In struggling to a 1-9 record a season ago, the South Lamar Stallions were served their share of humble pie..
South Lamar lost eight games by 26 points or more, and for the season was outscored 370-121.
Using last season as motivation, this season has started off much better for the Stallions.
South Lamar kicked off the season Friday by beating rival Lamar County 27-20 to avenge a 61-20 setback, its worse loss of 2009.
South Lamar gets a chance to make up for another lopsided loss from last season when it plays at Hubbertville on Friday. The Stallions will attempt to atone for a 40-14 defeat.
"You better believe were going to harp on that," South Lamar coach Josh Harper said of using last year's losses as motivation. "We took names down in our little black book and we're going to start checking them off the list. I want these kids to have that mentality. I want our boys to say, 'Hey, you got us once, you're not going to get us again.' That's the whole concept I want to preach to these kids."
But Harper said trying to avenge last year's loss to Hubbertville will be different from what it took to make up for last year's setback to Lamar County.
"It's two torally different teams," Harper said. "They (Hubbertville Lions) bring back a lot of starters from last year's team, whereas Vernon (Lamar County) had to replace a lot of key ingredients to their program. They're going to be a lot bigger and a lot stronger, but not quite as fast as Vernon was. We're going to have to change our element from facing a more finese team to a power football team."
South Lamar will travel to Hubbertville for its first Class A, Region 5 game of the season.
Hubbertville is also 1-0 after beating Phillips 41-14 in its season opener.
Harper said the season-opening win was a confidence builder for his team and hopes it carries over to the game against Hubbertville.
But Harper said the Stallions have a lot of work ahead of them if they're going to continue to avenge last year's losses.
"I think the biggest thing right now is our focus," Harper said. "If we can maintain our focus and do the things we're coaching them up to to, I think we'll compete. That's what I'm still looking for right now, a team that's going to compete for four quarters. We didn't compete for four quarters on Friday. Luckily we were in the right place at the right time on a lot of occasions. I'm still looking for a four-quarter competitive football game from them. We're by no means satisfied with what we did Friday. I think our kids are looking at it that way."
Harper didn't like how the Stallions fell behind 14-0 to Lamar County, but he was pleased with how they rallied and finished the game.
n Cherokee (1-0) at Lamar County (0-1): The Lamar County Bulldogs look to bounce back after their opening-season loss to Lamar County.
The loss to South Lamar was just Lamar County's second regular season defeat in three seasons.
The Cherokee Indians are a new region opponent for Lamar County this season, but coach Ken Adams is concentrating more on his team.
"Right now what we've got to do is worry about ourselves," Adams said. "We have got to find what it's going to take. We've got to get hungry. We've got to play hard.
"I think South Lamar wanted it more than we did. That's just one of those things that comes down to me. I've got to find the button to push. I've got to find it quick. The kids, all kids no matter where you're at, you've got to find what makes them tick. It's a matter of a lot of things. For us, I think a lot of it had to do with South Lamar. Those kids deserved to win. They played hard. They played hard the entire game. They didn't get down. They deserved it. Our kids should take a lesson from that."
Adams worked on getting the Bulldogs' attention when they returned to practice Monday.
"We didn't snap the football one time (the entire practice)," Adams said. "We didn't run a single play. We pushed the sled up and down the hill as a team. We've got to get 11 players playing together with reckless abandon.Our problem is not the plays and not the defense. Those things work."
Lamar County hosts Cherokee in its Class 2A, Region 8 opener.
Cherokee won its season opener by beating Vina 12-7.
n Sulligent (0-1) at Hatton (0-1): The Sulligent Blue Devils also look to bounce back after being shut out 43-0 by Hamilton (Ala.) in their season opener.
"We'll see Friday night (how the Blue Devils respond)," Sulligent coach Dwight Bowling said. "We've got to pick up our intensity level by a long shot. We didn't play with much intensity the other night. We've got to pick that up and execute better and just do the fundamentals better. We didn't block, tackle or execute, period."
Hatton, which lost its opener 15-9 to R.A. Hubbard, is a new region opponent for the Blue Devils this season.
Sulligent travels to Hatton for its first Class 2A, Region 8 game of the season.
Bowling only has first game film of Hatton to help prepare his team this week.
"They play hard and they're well coached," Bowling said. "There's a lot of things about them that stand out. They ran up 240 something yards offense against R.A. Hubbard last Friday night. Of course they're one of the top teams in 1A. They looked very impressive.
"They're huge. They probably average over 300 on the line -- offense and defense. They've got a bunch of them, too."
n Shades Mountain Christian (0-1) at Pickens County (1-0): The Pickens County Tornadoes will attempt to continue their dominance against Shades Mountain Christian.
Pickens County has outscored Shades Mountain Christian 248-34 the past four seasons, winning 38-14 in 2006, 75-6 in 2007, 69-7 in 2008 and 67-7 in 2009.
Pickens County coach Scott Marchant said his focus is on correcting mistakes after beating American Christian Academy 27-6 in the season opener.
"It's mostly breakdowns and blocking errors," Marchant said. "We blocked incorrectly on several plays. We need all 11 guys to be doing the right thing at the right time. When one guy doesn't do it right it can cause a play to be a failure. Sometimes it leads to turnovers when you don't block certain things right. Mostly we're looking at blocking schemes and at how we didn't block correctly. We had some coverage breakdowns where we didn't cover as we should have. We didn't make the right checks to certain formations that we had planned on doing. It can lead to a touchdown. It didn't necessarily do that the other night, but it could have and so we kind of look at it like that. We've got to fix it even thoough it didn't necessarily cost us a touchdown. "
Pickens County has dropped from Class 2A to Class A this season and Shades Mountain Valley is the first Class A, Region 4 opponent for the Tornadoes.
Shades Mountain Christian lost its opener 6-0 to Parkway Christian.
n Aliceville (0-1) at Sipsey Valley (0-1): The Aliceville Yellow Jackets seek their first victory after losing their opener to Greene County to spoil the debut of coach Eddie Hill.
"I think the guys understand we more or less had to go back to the drawing board and do some work," Hill said. "A lot of teams played fall jamborees and we didn't. That was our first game. We had a good practice (Monday). We had a real intense practice. That was one game and it's gone. This is going to start area play. If we can continue to do what we're doing I think we're going to keep getting better and better.
"It wasn't my first rodeo. My thing is we've got to get these kids ready for this game this week. I think they're ready to play. I think a lot of them were hurt because our expectations level was high. We've got to make sure we keep it up there."
This is Sipsey Valley's first year as a school, not giving Hill much to go on in preparing his team this week.
Sipsey Valley is Aliceville's first Class 3A, Region 4 opponent of the season.
Sipsey Valley lost its first game ever 28-6 to Fayette County.
"What you do is you watch the film (from the Fayette County game),