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File / The Record Dadeville’s Jamauri Chislom (2) finished with seven tackles and a sack last week. The Tigers will look to him Friday at Pike Road.

Any time a team can hold an opposing offense to just eight points in a football game, it should be winning the contest.

That wasn’t the case for Dadeville in a Class 3A Region 3 defensive showdown with Montgomery Academy last week. But despite the 8-2 loss, the Tiger defense should still be commended. Aside from its season-opening victory against Horseshoe Bend, which was still struggling to find its offensive identity at the time, that’s the lowest point total for an opponent for the Tigers this season.

“Friday night, I thought we had some success defensively,” Tiger coach Richard White said. “We had some breakdowns, but we still played one of our better games. The kids executed the game plan and across the board they all played pretty good.”

There were a few defensive standouts.

Jamauri Chislom finished with seven tackles and a sack and he continued to play on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

“Chislom is growing into his own,” White said. “The main thing with Chislom was just growing up a little bit. He’s gotten more physical which is a good sign; that’s going to help him down the road. When he sets his mind to it and he’s physical, he’s pretty tough to handle.”

Alex Walker also made some big stops, including a touchdown-saving tackle when the Tigers did have one of their rare breakdowns in the secondary.

“Alex Walker also played a good game,” White said. “If we had a hustle award, he would get it.” 

Piling up the rushes

Running the ball has become the identity of Benjamin Russell’s football team.

And it’s worked.

Despite suffering a big loss at the hands of Opelika, the Wildcats still managed to rack up nearly 300 yards on the ground. BRHS coach Kevin Smith said he couldn’t remember being on a staff of a team that ran that well against the Bulldogs.

Hezekiah Hunter finished with 170 yards and BRHS didn’t miss a step when it put in Demarcus McNeal, who ran for another 80 yards.

“It’s not even really a big tossup question: If Hezekiah is breathing heavy out there, you can run McNeal out there without worry,” Smith said. “There’s some things we won’t call when he’s out there. Like anything when he’s having to block a whole lot, we won’t call. It’s not because he won’t try but Hezekiah just brings a lot more power with him on the blocking side of things.”

The pair will need to be on its game tonight against Wetumpka as the Indians have shown they struggle with their rush defense.

Two-way standout

With Logan Hunt playing quarterback the whole game last week against Thorsby, Reeltown needed another option at inside linebacker. Robert Crittenden filled that role.

“He’s been playing inside linebacker for us and some role-playing situations but he started the whole game,” Rebel coach Matt Johnson said. “He played every snap and he did a really good job. He usually reads it well but he tends to play out of control, which is just an effort thing. That’s what you want. You want to reel guys in instead of having to pump them up, but he had a good game overall.”

Crittenden also split time with Tre Tre Hughley later in the game at fullback and did a fine job there as well.

Teaching the Cougars to believe

When a team is still winless and staring down the potential of its third straight winless season, it can be tough to motivate kids. Players start to leave the team and those who remain are discouraged and don’t feel good about themselves.

But somehow, Central Coosa coach Brett Thomas continues to stick with it and there are a number of Cougars who seem to be here for the duration.

“I don’t care what anybody says; I have the utmost confidence in them,” Thomas said. “If they could only see the potential that I see in them and just believe in themselves. They know that it’s a hard battle to win when they get off the bus, but that’s why I stress to the JV about staying together as a team.

“It’s about building for the future and letting them see that they can compete. The biggest thing is making them believe you believe in them.” 

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