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File / The Outlook Dadeville's Christian Nelson (5) and the Tigers are looking for something to celebrate tonight against Bullock County.

Last week was definitely a sting.

Dadeville’s football team felt like it got one taken away when a field goal was ruled as a miss at the last second of a Class 3A Region 3 contest against Southside Selma. The Tigers thought for sure the kick was good.

However, what’s done is done and Dadeville has to put the past behind it.

And now it’s more important than ever as the Tigers are fighting to return to the playoffs after missing them for three straight seasons.

“We’re in a situation where we gotta win,” Dadeville coach Richard White said. “I don’t want to put pressure on them but they put pressure on themselves when they didn’t win that ballgame. Now we’re in a must-win situation or this season is fixing to go down the tubes in a hurry.”

But to get a win won’t be easy by any means.

Dadeville ushers in Bullock County for a region matchup, and the Hornets gave the Tigers a stinger of their own last year when they defeated Dadeville, 22-17, in another game the Tigers felt they could’ve easily won.

And it’s not going to get any easier this week.

“Bullock County is a lot better than they were last year,” White said. “They’ve got a real good running back and the quarterback is a year older. They’ve get after you on defense too. They’re just a much-improved team from last year.”

Bullock County (0-2, 0-1) is led by sophomore quarterback Robert Williams and its biggest threat offensively is running back Kendeous Owens.

The triple option is the go-to for the Hornets, who will throw in some spread offense as well.

“They’ve got a few good receivers,” White said. “Their running back is fast and he runs hard and hits the hole quick. We just gotta find a way to bring him down.”

Defensively, the biggest issue for Dadeville (1-2, 0-1) will be finding a way to combat Bullock County’s size. The Tigers will likely look to film from the Hornets’ game with Reeltown to find a solution because the Rebels seemed to exploit Bullock County with their speed. Dadeville will try to do the same.

More importantly though, a big focus this week in practice has been tackling techniques and how the Tigers can take down guys who boast a lot more size than them.

“We just gotta maintain our gaps and our technique right there across the front,” White said. “Offensively, we’re going to have to stay lower than they are and block down low. You can’t block guys up here. You gotta get their legs and we have to teach them the reasons why we’re blocking low.”

The same goes for the Tigers’ defensive strategy as well.

“Last week, we were still trying to tackle guys up top that would’ve been either sacks or losses, but when you play quarterbacks who are athletic, you have to take their best thing away from them and that’s their leg,” White said.

Javuntae Holley and Christian Nelson struggled to find a lot of running room for Dadeville last week against Southside, and it’ll likely be another challenge against Bullock County’s size. But the one bright spot from last week was Tiger quarterback Lane Smith, who is seemingly getting more and more comfortable with each passing week.

Now, he’s just going to need his receivers to step up to his call. The Tigers had eight dropped passes last week — two of which White said were in the end zone and one of which would’ve set them up with first and goal at the 4.

“Our quarterback was on; I thought Lane played well,” White said. “That was probably his best game as far as throwing the ball. But if we didn’t do our job on the other end and catch it, there’s nothing he can do. Some were in our hands and we dropped them; it’s hard to overcome that.”

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.