“We had a good week of practice,” Sylacauga head coach Matt Griffith said. “It was good to get a win under our belts. It was a big region win, so the kids have popped around pretty good. Anytime you play a Birmingham school it excites us.”
Last week, Sylacauga (4-2, 3-1) defeated Chilton County, 13-3 in defensive battle. The Aggies defense had two takeaways, including an interception deep in their territory. This is the second time this season the Aggies have held their opponents to three points.
“I thought our defense played really,” Griffith said. “I thought that was the best that I have seen our secondary play all year. I thought we broke on the ball real well. Both defensive tackles played well, both defensive ends played well. Our linebackers really played well from the injuries from Brodie Parker our Mike linebacker. I was real pleased all around. The most important thing is that we won the fourth quarter. That is what we have been preaching to our kids since last week. We have to win the fourth quarter. I though they did a good job.”
Offensively, Sylacauga turned the football over three times, which is something that Griffith wasn’t pleased with. Griffith, who has been at the helm at Sylacauga for nine seasons, was pleased with the way his team started and finished the game.
“We knew they had a good offense that was going to stay on the field,” Griffith said. “We had a really good drive to start the game. In the fourth quarter our offense really got started. In between it was a lot of ball control going on. It was an old fashioned hard-nosed football game.”
The Patriots (5-1,4-0) enter tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak. Homewood defeated John Carroll, 62-0 last week. On the season, they have outscored their opponents 238-61.
“Homewood is Homewood,” Griffith said. “You are talking about a 6A school getting to play 5A football. They are going to come in and they are going to dress 100 kids. They are going to have 200 in the band. They are a big, strong, fast and physical football team. It is going to take all four quarters to have a shot to beat them. There are probably five or six guys on that football team that’s going to play college football and they are impressive. They have a good team.”
Tonight’s game will not affect the Aggies postseason hopes in negative fashion. The Aggies are currently in third place in the Class 5A Region 4 standings. If they fall tonight, they will remain in third place, but if they are able to pull off the upset they will move up to second place in the region.
“If you win the game, it gives you a big shot to finish one or two in the region,” he said. “If you lose, you still can make the playoffs and you can finish three or four possible. There is a possibility that you can finish No. 2 if Briarwood gets upset. It is not a make-or-break game for us. Everybody right now is jockeying for position for one, two, three and four. That’s the big thing.”
For the Aggies to pull off the upset, Griffith said they have to win the time of possession battle and not allow any big plays.
“The biggest thing that we have preached to our kids all week is that we have to keep the ball out of their hands,” Griffith said. “We got to run clock and we have to basically slow the game down. We have to keep their offense off the field as long as possible. One of our biggest concerns is their kicking game. Their punt returner and kickoff returner is really dangerous. We just have to be really sound in all three phases of the game.”
The Patriots lead the series 7-2. Homewood won last season’s game 49-10.