“Briarwood, they do a great job on defense,” Herring said. “They’ve done the same 4-3 cover for years. Coach Yancey and his team are defensively sound. Offensively, they get into some intricate sets and formations just to make sure you know how to line up to certain stuff and when you don’t they know how to hurt you with it. They’re just a really, really well-coached football team. It’s not a secret. Briarwood is known. They’re always a playoff team. Last year they were the fourth seed in this region and went and beat the one seed. We’ll have our hands full to say the least.”
Briarwood enters the game with a 3-2 overall record and is 2-1 in region play. They defeated 6A opponent Gardendale last week at home 24-22. Herring has tried to stress to his team that though they may be viewed as an underdog, they can beat Briarwood.
“We tell them it can happen,” Herring said. “There are upsets every Friday night, every Saturday and every Sunday. We’ve got to have a no mistake offense—NMO. Don’t turn the ball over, don’t have any penalties. That’s what we’ve got to do to give ourselves a chance. In the fourth quarter, we’ve got to be disciplined—know what we’re doing, know what are assignments are. As long as our kids compete, we think we can play at that level.”
Briarwood won last year’s contest at home 42-12. Herring knows to have a chance to win the defense will have to play better in this year’s game.
“We’ve got to make a lot of open field tackles,” Herring said. “They do stuff to get you out there one-on-one in open space. They’ve got one or two guys where if they make you miss, they’ve got a chance of hitting the head of the goal post. We’re going to have to play a great, sound game.”
The seniors have played a big role in leading the defense, which only allowed seven points in the Tigers’ most recent win against John Carroll.
“Our seniors are playing hard,” Herring said. “We can’t complain about the effort these guys are giving. Defensively, I think they’re going to give us a chance to stay in this ball game.”
Herring believes his team had a solid week of practice.
“We’ve worked hard,” he said.
“We had a good Monday and Tuesday of practice, had a good day Wednesday and Thursday we just polished up on what we’ve done all week. Everything works good and looks good. I told them ‘Friday night: translation to the field.’”
The Tigers are 2-0 this season at Mary Dumas Stadium playing before the home crowd. Herring hopes to have another rowdy crowd for Briarwood.
“I hope they show up,” Herring said.
“The two games we’ve been here, they’ve been there loud and they’ve helped us. It’s just like every place you go: you want to have that home crowd because it’s an advantage for you. When you’ve got the ball on offense, you want your crowd going crazy yelling. We make big plays and they’re behind us. We’re hoping they’re going to come out in droves for Briarwood.”
Talladega hosts Briarwood at Mary Dumas Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.