Friday, October 12, 2007

Last Homecoming In Old Stadium for Aggies

Homecoming attendants

By Ken Bonner
The Daily Sentinel

Published October 12, 2007

It's a series with a long and storied history. And, after 62 meetings, the series standings shows how competitive its been.

Scottsboro and Albertville will be battling for playoff position when the two teams square off tonight in the last homecoming contest to ever be played in Aggie Stadium in Albertville.

The Wildcats, who defeated the Aggies 44-16 a year ago, lead the overall series that dates to 1916, 29-28-5. The Aggies, 3-3 overall, 2-2 in 5A Region 7 are 1-9 in their last 10 homecoming contests. Scottsboro enters the game 5-1 and 4-0.

“Albertville will be ready to play,” Scottsboro head coach Freddie Tidmore said. “It will be the last homecoming game Albertville will ever play in their old stadium. They're slated to get a new stadium by next year. Emotion is on their side.”

“I fully expect our football team to be focused and to give their very best effort on Friday night,” Aggie coach Tommy Tharp said.

Tharp doesn't think homecoming will be a distraction for his squad.

“Different teams, from year-to-year, handle off-the-field things differently, but this bunch so far has had no problem with those sorts of things.”

The Aggies broke a three-game losing skid with a 21-13 win over Arab a week ago. And their single-wing, always in the shotgun, offense and split-four defense is capable of causing Scottsboro some problems.

“We can't have turnovers,” Tidmore said. “We've got to be disciplined on defense but not let it slow down our aggressiveness. Against their offense you've got to make sure you know you're going where you're going.”

Tidmore explained that the Aggies attack is deceptive. He expects Albertville to run most of the time but to air it out at least 12 to 15 times.

Albertville is led offensively by Cody Haycraft and Beau Dalke in the backfield. Haycraft ran 26 times for 214 yards against the Wildcats a season ago.

“I think they'll try to exploit us a little bit. They're hard nosed and will run a lot of counters and sweeps. We're not big inside,” Tidmore said. “We're more speed oriented.”

“We have to trust our keys, what they tell us to do,” he said. “We must play responsibility football but still get a lot of people around the football, which is hard to do against this offense.”

Tharp is concerned about the Wildcat defense. And he is impressed with its speed.

“You might block them for a second or two,” he said. “But you better believe when they get disengaged from the block, they run like a scalded dog to the football.”

But Tharp is most impressed with the Wildcat offense.

:Both Tyrelle McCamey (91 attempts for 507 yards) and Trent Johnson (92 attempts for 675 yards) can carry the mail. You have to play assignment football against the Wildcats and that puts you in a lot of one-on-one situations, which makes it incredibly difficult to slow those guys down,” Tharp noted. “Josh White, their quarterback, does a really good job operating the offense, and they will be more than a handful for us to slow down.”

Tidmore isn’t as impressed.

“Some of our kids are getting better but we've been inconsistent,” he said. “We've got to start making the fullback go more between the tackles. When the fullback goes and the downhill sweep goes we feel pretty good.”

But Tidmore knows his team is making strides on offense. He says defenses are beginning to use gimmicks to try and slow the Wildcats seemingly always powerful rushing attack down, citing defensive lines crawling and diving at blockers feet and defensive backs and linebackers crashing the corners.

The Aggies kicking game is “solid, not flashy,” Tidmore said. “I think we've done a pretty good job of covering kicks and Jay Benson (placekicker and punter) has been a bright spot for us. To win we've got to be solid in the kicking game.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Scottsboro has won six of the last 10 meetings and holds the off-again, on-again series’ longest win streak at seven from 1963 to 1972.

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