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Cliff Williams / The Outlook Dadeville's Lane Smith (1) needs to find more comfort this week as he'll try to open up the passing game against Beulah.

The football season hasn’t gone the way Dadeville hoped.

The expectations were much higher and there’s been a sort of snowball effect around the Tiger locker room. However, there is still a chance for the Dadeville seniors to go out on a high note as the Tigers have two very winnable games to end the season.

First up is this week’s matchup against Beulah, which is entering the Class 3A Region 3 game on a three-game skid. The Bobcats (3-4, 1-4) started the season well enough but faced some of their worst competition in their opening four games. They also have comparable scores to Dadeville’s losses, and even some are leaning in the Tigers’ favor.

Beulah lost to Southside by two points, while the Tigers lost by 1. Dadeville (1-7, 0-3) kept it within two scores of both Montgomery Academy and Bullock County, but the Bobcats suffered blowout losses at the hands of both.

“I told our guys after the Pike Road game that we still have two games left and they’re both winnable football games,” Tiger coach Richard White said. “But we can’t go out there and lay eggs like we did against MA and Elmore County because those were winnable games too. We got to go out and keep fighting and when things go south on a play or two, we can’t let it affect the next play or the next series or the whole ballgame.”

Beulah boasts a fairly well-balanced offense that has scored at least two touchdowns in every game. The Bobcats are averaging 30.5 point per game but that includes games in which they scored 56 points or more against the winless Ellwood Christian and Prattville Christian.

Chris Person leads the Beulah running game but he’s helped along by a quarterback, Dylan Coleman, who seems to be able to make something out of nothing when necessary.

“If (Person) gets in space, he can make you pay for it because of his speed,” White said. “Their quarterback is the type of kid that has just enough athletic ability that he can extend plays with his feet. He can get outside the pocket and the receivers are getting open with him scrambling, so he gets the ball to him. We’re going to have to keep him hemmed up.” 

Defensively, the Bobcats run a 3-4 and typically show a five-man front, but regardless of what the Tigers see opposite their offense, it’s going to come down to how well the offensive line can block.

“We’ve got to get a running game established,” White said. “If you don’t get your running game going, your quarterback is a sitting duck back there. They’re just going to load the box and here they come. We’ve gotta do a good job of trying to get a running game somehow, someway established. People have been able to run the ball on them so we’ve gotta be able to run the ball on them.”  

Sophomore quarterback Lane Smith is still trying to find his receivers but because he’s faced so much pressure, the Tiger youngster needs to find his footing again before anything else.

“He’s a little shell-shocked right now and that’s understandable,” White said. “We’ve got to get him comfortable again. He was comfortable at the beginning of the season. Even against Reeltown with all they were bringing, he was still comfortable throwing the ball. We’ve got to get that comfort level back to him.” 

Although the Tigers are eliminated from playoff contention and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between a one-win and a two- or three-win season, a victory could really help the mentality which is extremely important moving forward.

“You can build off a win,” White said. “It changes the morale. You come in here week after week and you’ve lost and you’ve lost and you’ve lost, and you get to where there’s no much desire and drive left to win. That’s the way it is with anything in life. But there are still some things to play for.” 

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