“This year, we understand that we have a chance to do something special,” Childersburg’s running back/linebacker Kendarius Calhoun said. “We understand that a lot of people don’t respect us, so each and every week we practice our best. Our goal is to earn our respect.”
The Tigers (3-0) enter tonight’s game with momentum. Last week, Childersburg defeated Handley, 21-13 to improve to 2-0 in area play. Last week, Childersburg second-year head coach Adam Fossett said his team is driven to earn respect around the state.
“It is motivation for these kids, especially the older guys,” Fossett said. “They have had a rough road in the past and haven’t had much success. To be able to go 6-5 last year and starting out 3-0 this year, it is all about gaining respect and doing everything we need to do to make sure they respect Childersburg football. We play good football here and we have a good solid team. It is definitely a motivator for the ones that need it. Some of the guys love the game without the need for motivation. Overall as a team it motivates them and keeps them going. The task only gets tougher going down the road. The schedule is a tough schedule. We have to make sure we do everything we can to stay healthy and make sure we don’t get complacent.”
The Tigers enter tonight’s games with the sixth best defense in the state and the top defense in Class 4A after week three. Childersburg has held their opponents to 13 points all season and they have earned two shutouts.
“Defensively, we are playing real well,” Fossett said. “We made a few changes in the offseason as far as personnel and we have a first-year defensive coordinator Mike Watts doing a great job for us. The guys have bought in and they’re making big plays for us. Last year, we were known for giving up a big play pretty much every game that would hurt us or put us in a bad situation. We have really limited the big plays and we have kept people from getting big plays. We are able to sub some people in and out to keep some people fresh. Our numbers are up compared to last year. Last year, we dressed around 30 and this year, we are dressing 45-50. It helps out a ton to have the numbers, we would like to have a few more than that. The more success we have the more people will be interested in coming out and playing.”
Childersburg’s defense will be put to the test tonight as they will try to slow down a Dadeville offense that averages 36 points per game. The fifth-ranked team in Class 4A defeated Holtville, 32-13 last week. Dadeville’s standout quarterback C.J. Tolbert was 17-of-26 for 210 yards with three scores last week against Holtville.
“It will be a tall task,” Fossett said of defeating Dadeville. “Dadeville is very athletic; they are going to spread you out on offense. They have guys that don’t need much space to make a play. We have worked it all week; we know our assignments, so we should be pretty sound there. Defensively, they have some big kids that play interior line. They have some tall guys playing defensive end. We are going to make sure we are throwing our blocks, knowing our assignments and doing the things that we need to do. We are going to have to make very few mistakes and play a very good game as mistake free as possible so we can come out with a win.”
Offensively, Childersburg has a lot of weapons which starts with their improved offensive line. The Tigers have received stellar quarterback play from Zach Lightsey and their core of receivers. Two of their biggest weapons on offense is the backfield duo of Calhoun and Tim Tilley.
“We push each other, it is competition all the time,” Calhoun said. “It is consistent competition. I want to be the best and he wants to be the best. I block for him, he blocks for me. That’s the only way things work. We stay on each other all the time. We are competing against each other, but at the same time we want to help each other. At the end of the game if we are winning, we talk about who had the most yards and stuff. We want to encourage each other to get better every week.”
In week two against Beulah, Calhoun rushed for 204 yards in the Tigers 32-0 win. Last week, it was Tilley who had 182 yards of total offense and two scores. He rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. He also had two receptions for 89 yards, which included a 45-yard touchdown.
“It was God,” Tilley said. “If it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be out there playing. Zach (Lightsey) made a big play throwing it to me. He saw me when I was open. I saw the big break. I thought that we weren’t doing anything, so I really needed to step up and try to be a leader out there. I had to pick the team up. I fumbled the ball on the 3-yard line and I had to come back out there and show them what I was capable of doing. They told me that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but I came out showed them. I wasn’t supposed to be here. It is a blessing from God. The runs were all KK (Kendarius Calhoun) and the line. I give all the credit to my line.”
Fossett believes that Childersburg has to play a perfect game to leave Tiger Stadium in Dadeville with their fourth win of the season.
“We have to play a mistake-free game,” Fossett said. “We have to go down there with a good head on our shoulders ready to play. We have to be mentally and physically ready to go.”