Gadsden City travels to Auburn
Thu. September 26, 2013 at 10:07 p.m. | By Kim Craft Sports Editor
Terrell Malone (5), Parker Holland (99) and the rest of the Gadsden City Titans play Auburn on Friday night. (Photo by Eric T. Wright | Gadsden Times | File)
Matt Scott views playing and coaching high school football as things that can be very simple in a basic way.
“We’ve just got to utilize the personnel that we have,” the first-year Gadsden City coach said as he approached the 2013 season.
That means not locking into utilizing a certain scheme — offensively or defensively — if it doesn’t fit the players taking the field.
Scott made an analogy to prove his point: “If you’re going to talk about or debate, well we think we’re going to be more of a two-back team or a one-back team,” he recalled. “Well it’s real simple, is that second running back better than the fourth receiver?”
That stated, Scott and his coaching staff take their jobs seriously as they strive to put each and every Titan player who steps on the field in the best position to be successful every Friday night.
The preparation is thorough with players and coaches held accountable.
All that plays into being what the Titans aspire to be each and every year — a playoff contender fighting for a state championship.
Friday night’s game against Class 6A, No. 8 Auburn (3-1), a non-region opponent, fits the model for the playoff program Gadsden City (2-2) has become in emerging from the consolidation of three schools in 2006.
It’s a road game against a high-caliber opponent, with the potential for competitiveness that can help raise the Titans’ level of play.
Injuries have mounted for Gadsden City’s offense since the season-opening game against Florence, and “our focus has been to try to get all the bullets back in the gun” before the second half of the season begins next week, Scott said, against Region 7 rival Pell City in Week 6. He said the only player questionable for this week’s game is receiver Austin Clark, who hasn’t played since a shoulder injury against Lee-Huntsville in Week 2.
With quarterback Jay Copeland, who was able to punt last week, back after a concussion, the Titans have three options at the position where Sloan Tyler and Ahmad DeRamus also line up. Receivers Deveunte Blount and AJ Major also are back from injury, Scott said.
That’s good news for the Titans in facing an Auburn team stacked with defensive talent, led by defensive end Rashaan Evans, who at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds is being recruited as a linebacker. Evans also plays in the Tiger offense, having scored as a receiver and from the Wildcat formation.
“They are by far going to be the best defense we’ve seen this season,” Scott said, noting the Tigers have six or seven Division 1-type players. “If they’re got a weakness, I don’t see it.”
Another talented Tiger who the Titans must account for and is “a dangerous player” as Scott sees him is Blaise Taylor, who not only starts at receiver and cornerback but also returns kicks.
“They’re got quite a few athletes to deal with,” Scott stressed.
Even so, he thinks the Titans are in the right place for such a challenge.
“I think they are taking a really positive approach,” Scott said of his players. “There are things we talk about every week and we go over with the players and they see where we’re really doing well. They see how close we are to being a complete team and I think they are excited about that.”