Southside’s thinking upset

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 1, 2004

Tonight’s game between Southside and Demopolis is much more than a matchup of unbeaten teams. It’s also a battle between David and Goliath.

It may seem impossible that two squads sharing 4-0 records could be on such opposite sides of the spectrum entering the game. But not only does Demopolis sport a zero in the loss column, it also boats a donut hole in the points-against line.

In winning its first four games, Demopolis has yet to surrender a point while earning a number-four ranking in the latest Class 4A state prep polls.

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Included in Demopolis’ lopsided victories is a 69-0 beating of Dallas County two weeks ago.

However, Southside coach Chris Raymond believes all that could change in just a matter of hours.

“From what I’ve seen,” Raymond said, “they haven’t played a team like we are. I think we’re going to surprise some people tonight.”

Those words might shine brightly with confidence, but Raymond said that’s what it takes to beat such a strong Demopolis squad. Raymond also believed a lack of confidence from their opponents is what has kept Demopolis perfect this year.

“We have the confidence that we’re going down there to win the game,” he said. “Traditionally, teams go down there and think they’re going to lose. If you approach a game with that kind of attitude, there’s no doubt that you’re going to lose.

“I don’t see a weakness in Demopolis because people don’t do too much against them. Teams fumble the ball, they throw interceptions – they just don’t make Demopolis play a complete game.”

The Panthers’ coach hinted that his team might have a few tricks prepared for Demopolis. While Raymond divulged few plans, he did say that the Panthers’ offense will “mix it up” against a stingy Demopolis defense.

“We’re not going to sit back and let them do what they want to us,” he said. “We’re going to play them tough and we’re going to compete.”

Among some of his ideas, Raymond believes the Demopolis defense will focus on running back Tony Myles Jr., the spark plug for the Southside offense thus far. Raymond said he plans to use Myles as more of a “disguise” tonight, with quarterback Ricky McConico throwing the ball more this week than in games past.

Raymond said one of McConico’s top receivers would likely be tight end Jeffery Anderson.

“If we do what we’re supposed to do,” Raymond said, “we’ll be all right.”

The Southside defense, according to Raymond, also will have an edge to it tonight.

Raymond’s confidence also appears to be shared by his players. The coach said when he looked into his players’ eyes during practice this week, he saw complete belief in their ability to win.

“I’ve preached to them that Demopolis can be beaten,” Raymond said. “We’ll find out how they really feel (tonight). How they play will tell me what they’re thinking.”