Tigers open region play vs. ECHSPublished 1:54pm Thursday, September 5, 2013
By Griffin Pritchard
Wetumpka Herald Sports Editor
With first-week wins under their belts, contenders Elmore County and Dadeville will go claw-to-claw in a Region 3 catfight tomorrow at 7 p.m.
“They’ve got a lot of speed,” said Norman Dean, coach of the Panthers. “And it’s not just one or two guys: They’ve got a lot of speed on offense and on defense.”
In the opening stanza of the 2013 football season, Elmore County and Dadeville downed their opponents by a combined 59-10 score.
The Panthers clipped the Alabama Christian Eagles 41-10 inside their Montgomery roost while the Tigers took the claws to the Fightin’ Rebels of Reeltown en route to a 28-0 victory.
“Elmore County is totally different than what we saw last week,” said Richard White, coach of the Tigers. “They are a lot better than last year and they’ve gone back to the spread, something they know.”
Last season in Eclectic, Dadeville stymied the Panthers’ flexbone offense on its way to a 30-0 victory.
Friday’s game, however, could come down to a battle of the Panthers’ quarterbacks against the Tigers’ running backs.
Austin Adams and Michael Wayne Walls combined to go 20-of-25 passing and fueled the Panthers aerial assault to the tune of nearly 300 yards.
“Our defensive backs get tested every day in practice,” said White. “But we knew that Reeltown didn’t like to throw the ball, so we were able to stack the box. Elmore County is different. They are going to throw it 35 times a game and have two really good dual-threat-type quarterbacks. Hopefully, we’ll be up to the challenge.”
The height of Elmore County’s go-to wideout Javon Moore could be a factor in the Panthers’ passing game.
“Anytime you’re going against a 6-foot-plus receiver it’s going to be a test,” said White. “But our 5-foot-3 defensive back is just going to have to climb the ladder and cover him.”
Dadeville’s Jay Foster and C.J. Tolbert accounted for 247 rushing yards and three touchdowns in last season’s meeting.
“(Dadeville’s offense) is like driving a car – speed kills,” said Dean. “I’m sitting here watching film of the Reeltown game. They pull a guard and tackle, both miss blocks, and the kid still runs for 35 yards.”
Both coaches agree that no matter their differences, they are going to have to matchup Friday night at Tigers Stadium.
“We’ve got to go over there and play as hard as we can play,” said Dean. “Our kids can’t watch the scoreboard. They’ve just got to play hard until the end of the game, and then we’ll see what happens.”