Improved Tigers ready for toughest test

Published 8:02 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

It would be an upset for the ages.

On one side of the field Friday night will be the Shelby County High Wildcats, 10-0 and the No. 4-ranked Class 5A team in the state. On the other side will be the Chilton County High Tigers, one of only two teams with three wins to make the playoffs regardless of classification (the other is Lineville).

But forgive the Tigers if they enter the game undaunted – they sure seemed that way Monday going through their “Tiger Drill,” a competition exercise that evokes crashes, grunts and shouts. Win, lose or draw in the first round of the state playoffs, the CCHS program has come a long way in coach Brian Carter’s first year.

“I think the guys are understanding what we’re doing better, which allows them to play harder because they don’t have to think about what they’re doing,” Carter said.

Chilton began the season with five consecutive losses then won three games in a row. The year concluded with two more losses, but the team was much more competitive.

The Tigers will have to be better than they were even in their wins to stay with a group of Wildcats that relies on defense (SCHS has allowed 11.8 points per game this season) and the running combination of Tae Lewis and Darion Sutton (the duo has rushed for 1,889 yards and 34 touchdowns).

“They’re going to run it right at you,” Carter said. “[The CCHS players] know what the record is, and they know they’ve got their work cut out for them.

“We’re going to have to play mistake-free football.”