Red Devils face state champs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

BNI New Service

MAPLESVILLE &045; Maples-ville really has an easy task this Friday when it comes right down to it.

Here’s the agenda: Beat the defending state champions, take out the rest of the contenders and hold up a trophy in Birmingham.

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Simple, right?

It seems that way for a team that is already thinking and playing like a champion.

So there’s the task at hand. The Red Devils (8-2) have to slay Goliath right off the bat.

But the gap between these two teams is not as big as one might think. To begin with, both schools have a rich tradition.

Although the Bulldogs (8-2) claim five state titles to Maplesville’s one, the Red Devils were themselves a powerhouse under the direction of Brent’s father, Jim, in the 1980s and 90s.

After a 1-8 season in 2004, the team started on the road back to prominence with a trip to the playoffs last season.

Friday’s game will be as much a gauge for the team’s progress in its return to glory as it is a chance to advance in this year’s bracket.

If there is an extra gear in this team, it will be needed after kickoff.

The Bulldogs do one thing very effectively &045; run the ball. Whether there are eight men in the box or 10 men in the box, their philosophy changes very little.

Anthony Landrum, who was an all-state running back as a freshman last year, is just one of the Red Devils’ worries.

Sweet Water will also give the ball to Dominic Holt, and quarterback Deon Williams is more of a threat to run for a first down than he is to pass for one.

But, according to Hubbert, it is a non-skill guy that is the X-factor.

The quickness of the Devils’ defense is its best asset against a team that runs traps and counters 80 percent of the time.

But Maplesville will feel most confident when it has possession of the ball.

Not to say that Maplesville was content with just making it to the postseason last year, but it’s obvious the team’s resolve is a lot firmer the second time around.

And as far as the prospect of taking out the team everyone looks up at?