“It is always exciting to be in the playoffs,” Zedakar said. “It is something that we come to expect to be in at this school. These seniors have been in the playoffs every year they have played. We lost our last home games in heartbreakers, both in overtime.
“We had a tough one against Chelsea that cost us the region championship and cost us a home playoff game. We lost a rivalry game to Talladega, but the bottom line is that we are in our second season. We are in a one-game season and if want to get to another season, we have to survive and advance.”
Last season the Aggies defeated Pinson Valley in the first round of the playoffs. Zedaker believes this year’s team may be a little bit better than the team they faced last season.
“They are a very aggressive, direct team and they are very fast,” Zadekar said. “We have scouted them a few times this year. They have a very good team. They a have new coach and he is doing a very good job. I think they are ranked 10th or something like that. They have played some tough teams and we will have our hands full.
“We definitely have to be focused. We have to play with a lot of energy; we have to match their intensity and their pace. There are some things that we think we can exploit on their defense with some of our speed up top.
“It is just a matter of getting the ball to that spot to see if we can do it. They are a formidable challenge. It is going to be a very hard-fought match. We have to make less mistakes than they do, match their intensity and we have to have one more point on the board when the clock strikes zero to get to that next round.”
Zedaker said he was concerned with how his team would respond after falling to Talladega on Senior Night Thursday.
“I was a little concerned about how our attitudes would be coming off that,” he said. “This team is a senior laden bunch with a lot of veterans. We have a lot of years of experience and we have a lot of starts on this team. They strapped it back on and got back to work the next day, knowing that we played well against them.
“We have to have that effort like we had against Talladega and then some to survive in these playoffs. We set some lofty goals for ourselves this year. These seniors have the chance to be the most successful seniors in this program’s history. We are going to take it one game at a time. Since that game we have had a great week of practice. They are focused; they are experienced; they have been here before, so I am relying a lot on that.”
This season, Sylacauga’s defense has held their opponents to one goal or scoreless 14 times.
The veteran coach hopes their defense can create some easy goals for them.
“Our defense has really kept us in everything all year long,” he said. “Obviously they have to play well against an extremely fast team. It really starts with our defense. They have locked down many high scoring offenses down.
“If we can slow them down a little bit from the back and get the ball up top to our speed guys, we like our chances. I am really looking for some play out of midfield this year. I think midfield the last couple of games has been our Achilles heel as far as controlling the ball for us in the middle.
“I have set the challenge out to our middle fielders and they have accepted it. That is going to be key: our defense and our midfielders. We have some guys up top that can go. If we get the ball up to them, play a possession control type game and play to work off their speed I think we can have some success.”
Zedaker said this season has been one of the best years of his coaching career. He said he isn’t looking for the journey to come to an end anytime soon.
“This is a very driven bunch of boys,” Zedaker said.
“This has been the most enjoyable bunch that I have coached since I have been doing for the last 12 years. We are not ready for it to be over. Like I told them, they are one of the 16 teams left in the state that gets to practice (Monday). There are a lot of teams in 5A that would still love to be practicing and they are not. Don’t let this be your last practice.”
Contact LaVonte Young at email@example.com pr Follow him on Twitter@ LYoung_DHSports.