Indians vie for 2A state crown
By By Thomas Burton / special to The Star
Dec. 6, 2002
The road ends for Alabama High School Athletic Association's Class 2A Championship today in Birmingham.
The Southern Choctaw Indians will face Lineville at Legion Field with kickoff set for 3 p.m. The Indians (13-0) will look to pick up its third 2A state title in five years.
Southern Choctaw won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999 against Lineville. Lineville (11-3) looks to bring in a tough game for this year's match.
So far in the playoffs this year SCHS had beaten Houston Academy 21-0 and then Slocumb 20-14 in overtime to reach title game.
Southern Choctaw head coach Larry Boykin was very pleased with the way his team preformed during the final stretch.
"I knew that Houston had to be one of the top four 2A schools in the state," said Boykin. "But luckily we came out there with the right attitude on game day.
"When you look at Slocomb on film, they didn't look like they were that good, they made a lot of mistakes," Boykin said. " We got down there and found out it was a totally different ball team and so we were in for a dog fight the whole game."
The Indians know that Lineville doesn't have a short memory and appears to be hungry for a championship also.
"In 1998 they most definitely had the better football team. We got lucky breaks and were able to pull it out," Boykin said. "In 1999 no doubt we were just a better football team, we just wanted the title.
"This year talent wise you know they have the advantage, size, quickness, and speed." says Boykin. "So we're going to have to play with our head in order to beat Lineville."
According to coach Boykin the defense had been the deciding factor for most of the games. The team has only given up 61 points in 13 games, including six shutouts.
Boykin will look to his offensive line to control the line of scrimmage. Once that element of the game comes together the defense will come through.
Inside linebacker Chris Pugh looks to add emotion to the playing field. His 180 tackles are just 15 shy of the all time school record.
Pugh was nominated for 2A lineman of the year. Spencer Johnson and J.J. Foster won the award for Southern Choctaw 1998-2000.
Team Captain and running back Joseph Dozier started the 1998 game as a freshmen. His seriousness and refusal to give up is very valuable for his teammates stay alive the entire game.
"Right now he's the guy that's held this team together." spoke Boykin.
Other players who will add excitement to the game are Running back Detric Causey and tight-end/offensive tackle DeAngelo Johnson.
"Everyone focuses on Dozier, (so we) can use Causey to open up running game," said Boykin. "He's(Johnson) a total team player, he said he'll play anywhere to help team win."
Quarterback Benard McGrew has become more composed and confident in the latter part of the season. Boykin said McGrew began the year throwing everything under pressure. He gives credit to the offensive line for blocking well and taking tension off McGrew during the playoff wins.
The Indians are not worried about playing in Birmingham. Coach Boykin knows his team accepts the challenge to play away from home.
"Playing on the road doesn't mean a whole lot to us," pointed out Boykin. "I think we play better on the road than we do at home."