By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Addison knows all too well the bitter taste that last year’s 54-39 first-round loss to Berry in the Class 1A playoffs left in their mouths.
On Friday, the Bulldogs (7-2, 6-1 in Region 5) will get a chance at redemption, as Addison welcomes Berry (6-4, 5-2 in Region 6) for a second straight season.
Though David Smothers wasn’t around for last year’s game, he knows his Bulldogs are getting another tough Wildcat squad this time around.
“They’re a very, very tough and very qualified opponent,” the first-year coach said. “Their coach has been there a long time and has a good system in place for them.”
Addison’s loss last season was a tale of two halves for the Bulldogs. They led 26-14 at halftime before being outscored 40-13 in the final two quarters en route to a disappointing loss.
One of the big reasons for Berry’s come-from-behind win was running back Terrance Hollingsworth. The speedy two-way player accounted for 280 yards and five touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 54-point outing last November.
“They ran the ball very well against us last year,” Smothers said. “That running back can make a lot of plays, so it’s very important that we tackle well over the entirety of the game.”
The Bulldogs will look to counter with running back Seth Robinson, whom after missing the majority of the season with an injury, has came on strong the past couple of games, scoring two touchdowns in last week’s victory over Winston County.
“It’s been good for us, Seth coming back,” Smothers said. “He’s a different type of running back, and I think he’s been phenomenal since he’s returned.”
Robinson and the Addison offense will need to be on its game Friday night in order to keep a very dangerous Berry offense off the field.
Smothers said Berry likes to run out of “very multiple sets” and that controlling time of possession could very well be a deciding factor in the game.
“We must avoid three-and-outs at all costs,” he said. “We really need some 10-, 12-play drives to keep the ball out of their hands and to keep us from getting behind the 8-ball defensively.”
The Bulldogs have the momentum advantage going into Friday night’s matchup, having won seven straight games after an uncharacteristic 0-2 start.
Berry, in the meantime, has dropped its last two games. It also opened the year on a two-game skid.
“As a coach, you hope to have your team peaking at the right time during the season,” Smothers said. “I don’t think we have peaked yet, but I think we continue to get better and better.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.