November 12, 2010 7:40:00 AM
Pickens County High School football coach Scott Marchant knows what his Tornadoes will have to do tonight.
After studying films and making every practice count before their Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A second-round playoff game, Marchant and the Tornadoes will board buses and ride about three hours before taking on unbeaten Maplesville (11-0), which shut out eight teams during the regular season.
Sound daunting? Not to Marchant.
"We''re right where we want to be," said Marchant, whose 7-4 Tornadoes advanced to the second round with a 26-7 win against Loachapoka. "We look at it as an opportunity."
Pickens County had a shot Oct. 8 against Maplesville in a 39-29 loss in the regular season. The Tornadoes were one of only three teams to score on Maplesville, they scored the most points against the Red Devils, and they had the lowest margin of defeat.
Marchant said the 12-point margin is significant.
"We really feel like we could have competed better" in the earlier game," Marchant said. "To a certain degree, the kids feel this is their turn to win."
Senior running back James Adams, who rushed for 180 yards and threw a halfback pass against Loachapoka, said the Tornadoes are ready for Maplesville.
"We know they are a tough team," Adams said. "We just have to correct a couple of mental mistakes."
In the earlier matchup, Maplesville scored 21 fourth-quarter points thanks to two turnovers. The Tornadoes also threw three interceptions.
Adams scored on a 28-yard run in the third quarter in the first meeting. The touchdown was one of three he has scored this season. He also has rushed for 599 yards and has 97 receiving yards.
The Tornadoes have a set of numbers this is equally impressive, especially on offense. Quarterback Deion Curry has completed 45 of 95 passes for 916 yards. He also has rushed for 651 yards and eight touchdowns.
Tim Simpson has 417 rushing yards rushing (38 receiving) for 10 touchdowns. Demarko Hall has six touchdowns and 304 receiving yards receiving and 456 rushing yards.
With seven touchdowns this season, Lajuan Doss has rushed for 81 yards and has 384 receiving yards.
Adams and his teammates are confident entering tonight''s game.
"Everyone''s excited about getting to play this week," Adams said. "Everybody knows we are capable of winning."
With Maplesville''s dominating defense, the Tornadoes have worked especially hard with the guys in the trenches.
"We''ve been working pretty hard this week on the offensive line," Adams said, "and we''re working on the defense to adjust to their passing formations."
Marchant said the Tornadoes have no significant injuries. "We''ve got a couple of kids who are banged up, but I''m pretty confident we will be at full strength by gametime."
He said the Tornadoes have the chance to make a difference tonight.
"We appreciate the opportunity to continue playing," he said. "That''s our goal -- to keep playing."