Tigers expecting stiff test vs. PHSPublished 12:45pm Saturday, August 23, 2014
While it doesn’t count on the ledger, Dadeville’s season-opening tilt with Piedmont during the Champions Challenge is going to show the Tigers a lot about what they’ll have in 2014.
After all, according to coach Richard White, the Tigers will be facing a mirror image of itself.
The Tigers and Bulldogs have been two of the most successful teams at the Class 4A and 3A level, respectively. Over the last six years, DHS has posted a record of 66-9 while Piedmont has amassed a 69-11 record. Each team has made multiple trips to the quarterfinal round or better, with Piedmont winning it all in 2009.
With that track record brings a healthy level of mutual admiration from both sides.
“We have a lot of respect for what they’ve done, as they have for us. They’ve won 11-12 ball games every year for the past several years,” White said. “That says a lot about what they’ve got going on up there. Piedmont is a lot like Dadeville, it’s a small town where football means a lot to the community.”
While the contest is officially a preseason game, White said the Tigers are looking forward to showing what they’re capable of on a big stage. The hope, White said, is that the Tigers take advantage of the setting.
“To be able to put our kids on this stage against an opponent like Piedmont is going to give our program a spotlight that we wouldn’t normally get,” White said. “I know Piedmont will be ready to play, and our kids are excited.”
When DHS and PHS enter the contest, they will be ranked in the top three of their respective classifications. Dadeville enters the season as the Class 4A No. 3 team behind top-ranked Leeds and perennial power UMS-Wright.
Piedmont boasts the No. 2 ranking in Class 3A behind two-time defending state champion Madison Academy.
Preseason or not, the Tigers are approaching the contest as a full-fledged game, and White said he knows Dadeville will have quite the challenge on its hands.
“You really can’t tell what you’ve got until we get out there, but we know what they’ve got. We know where their skill people are, we know what they’ve been able to do offensively and defensively, and they’ve been very successful,” he said. “They deserve the ranking they got. What we have to do is take care of what we do and cut out the mistakes we’ve been making in practice so we can have a decent showing.”
The Tigers expect to see similar concepts to what they do, White said. While acknowledging that Piedmont has lost some key players, he said that the Bulldogs would still be as formidable as they have been in years past.
“They’ve got a good runningback, they throw the ball well, and defensively they are sound in what they do,” White said. “They run a 3-4 look kind of like what we do, and I know they lost a bit but they’re able to replace guys just as we have. I hope it’s a good, hard-fought game.”
Dadeville and Piedmont play on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.