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Lamar County hits the road again for playoffs


Lamar County’s Dallas Cockerham (10) runs the ball against Hale County earlier this season. The Bulldogs take on football power Sweet Water in tonight’s Class 2A quarterfinals. (Photo by Stewart Gwin)


The Lamar County football team made a 10-hour trip to Skipperville and back last week, but it was worth it to get a victory in the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs. To stay in, coach Ken Adams’ squad has to win tonight at Sweet Water, which is almost 145 miles from Vernon.

Sweet Water, new in Class 2A this season, has made 11 straight playoff appearances under Stacy Luker. Sweet Water won Class 1A championships in 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2004. Adams believes the folks in Vernon are just as passionate as the fans in Sweet Water. Lamar County has made the playoffs four out of the last five years, including a semifinal appearance in 2009.

"This community loves its football," said Adams, who saw his team beat G.W. Long 41-19 last week. "We respect the things Coach Luker and Sweet Water have done as far as their tradition. By the same token, this community and this school have some of their own. That’s what we as a group rally around.

"We made a little run a few years ago and got to the semifinals, but this bunch is just another group that has found its identity. The best way to say what describes them is that they go out and play hard. We’re not the biggest, and we’re not the strongest, but we’re going to come right at you."

Dallas Cockerham is a running and passing threat in Lamar County’s Notre Dame box offense.

"He started 11 games last year and three games the year before as a freshman," Adams said. "The offense runs through him. He’s got to be able to distribute the ball and carry out fakes. We don’t throw it much, but when we do he’s got to be on target.

"He’s gotten to the point that he understands that he needs to take what the defense gives you. He is such a competitor that in the past he would press too much. He doesn’t have to make 80 yards in one play."

Tyler Sprouse, Kendall Smith and Ryan Barham rotate in as blocking backs.

"Tyler is one of those kids we like to run behind," Adams said. "He likes (the contact). He turns around and plays linebacker for us."

The tailback rotation includes junior Alex Wheeler and freshmen Tim Harton and Bryce Myles. Harton is a wingback when he’s not at tailback. Other wingbacks are Ty Waldon and Landon Williams.

"The wingacks are an important part of our passing game," Adams said. "Tim is more of a speed guy and pass catcher. Ty is a hard-nosed blocker. Landon is kind of a mix of the two."

Lamar County’s starters on the line include center Jacob Smith, guard Joshua Smith and Angelo Martinez, tackles Jordan Ives and Austin Spann, tight ends Jeremy Denton and Brady Merchant and split ends Hunter Cunningham and Devin Dias.

Sprouse plays at inside linebacker along with Wheeler, Barham and Briggs Roberts. Dusty Vann, Lane Pennington and Waldon are outside linebackers. Williams, Myles and Cullin Carter will see action in the defensive secondary. J.B. McDowell, Temijah Lang, Denton, Ives and Merchant will play along the defensive front.

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.