Dallas Co. looks to knock off No. 3 Greenville in first playoff game since 2004

Published 6:50 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dallas County’s Lane Wallace hands off to Calvin Starks during a game against Wilcox Central.  --File Photo

Dallas County’s Lane Wallace hands off to Calvin Starks during a game against Wilcox Central. –File Photo

Dallas County has already surprised many people this year by making the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s playoffs for the first time since 2004. However, a win in the first round of the 5A playoffs Thursday night against third-ranked Greenville would really open some eyes.

“I think it would be great for our entire community,” said Dallas County head coach Marty Smith. “It would be great for Selma.”

A Dallas County upset would rock the 5A playoff bracket and would go down as one of the biggest upsets of the first round of the playoffs. Smith knows it won’t be easy.

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The Tigers (10-0) have won eight of their ten games by double digits and have five wins over teams going to the AHSAA playoffs. Greenville is also no stranger to the playoffs, as the Tigers have made the postseason dozens of times since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, it’s been twelve years since Dallas County (6-4) has made the playoffs.  The Hornets won five of their first seven games to lock up a playoff spot before back-to-back losses at Calera and Demopolis.  Dallas County closed the regular season with a 41-14 win over Southside last week.

While Greenville’s spread attack puts up big point totals on a regular basis, Dallas County’s offense leans more on ball control. Smith said his team needs to be ready to grind it out Thursday.

“We’ve got to make sure we understand our multiplication tables, that four [yards] times three is 12,” Smith said.

“We’ve just got to continue to get first downs and we’ve got to continue to move it and we’ve got to capitalize when we get it into the red zone.”

The Hornets will be up against one of the best defenses they’ve played this year. Greenville has held nine of its ten opponents under 15 points this season.

“They run to the football and they’ve got good size, good strength and they’ve got good quickness,” Smith said. “They do a good job of getting hats around the football.”

Dallas County’s defense has been very stout too. The Hornets allow just 17.9 points per game, although that number has risen to 28.5 over the last four games.

Greenville has scored at least 19 points in every game and averages 31.8 points per contest.

“Offensively they do a good job of creating space and getting the ball out to their athletes’ hands, which they have multiple athletes to be able to get it to, and create one-on-one matchups and create opportunities to make plays in space,” Smith said. “We’ve got to be able to tackle in space.”

The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved to Thursday due to the threat of thunderstorms Friday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Greenville High School.