The Bulldogs secured postseason play last week in a 47-7 victory over the Sumiton Christian Eagles in a Class 1A, Region 6 matchup, extending their winning streak to five games and allowing Addison to remain in contention for one of the two top spots in the region behind leaders Ragland and Falkville.
The newest berth also represents a new milestone for the historically successful Bulldogs, who will be making a trip to the postseason for the 31st time and currently rank in the top 10 among all AHSAA teams for playoff appearances.
It’s been an exciting journey for first-year coach David Smothers and his team, who began the season with back-to-back losses to Class 2A Fyffe and Ragland, but rallied to bring a 5-1 region record into Friday night’s contest with Falkville at A.G. Hicks Stadium.
“It’s been very rewarding to watch how our team has come together and performed at a level that has given us the opportunity to compete for homefield advantage in the first round of the playoffs,” Smothers said. “We’ve been particularly pleased in the past two games, as the progress our guys have made has really stood out. It’s exciting for everyone in our program and our community — we’ve got a great group of kids here at Addison who work hard, are close to one another and are steadily playing to their potential. The most important thing for us is to maintain our focus and not squander this opportunity.”
The Addison defense has been particularly impressive during the five game winning streak, allowing just 10 points during the span, while the offense has also put up good numbers, averaging 36 points per game.
Smothers credits the group leadership within the team in making a successful turnout, as well as the better offensive and defensive performance.
“It’s hard to single out one particular leader on our team. Though many of our players look up to our linebacker Frank Melson and the way he carries himself on and off the field, these young men stepped up as a whole and took responsibility in getting our season back on track and playing progressively better every week.”
The Blue Devils and the Bulldogs are not strangers to each other, meeting this week for the 49th time, with Addison holding a 31-18 edge in the series. The Bulldogs won the last contest, 27-6 in 2009.
Smothers sees a strong challenge in the Blue Devils this week, one in which his team will have to play mistake-free football and execute its gameplan well on both offense and defense.
“Being undefeated in the region doesn’t happen by chance — you’ve got to have a good football team and they certainly have one. They’re very well coached, have a strong running game and have receivers who are big, fast and make great plays,” Smothers said. “It will be a significant challenge for us both offensively and defensively, but I feel we will be up for the challenge.”