TIFTON -- At 4-1 the Tift County Blue Devil football team is ahead of schedule, according to first year head coach Tommy Seward.
"We didn't know how fast we would be able to get this team competitive," said Seward during an interview earlier this week. "We've been pleased with the kids' attitudes going all the way back to the spring."
"They have been working hard and they have shown that they want to win."
All ready this season the Blue Devils have doubled last year's production in terms of wins and are poised to solidify a spot in the postseason with another couple of victories. The Tift players and staff hope to secure one of those wins tomorrow night when the visiting Coffee Trojans come to town.
"Another win would put us in good shape," Seward said. "This isn't a 'must-win' situation, but it could be a big win."
The Devils are coming off of their biggest win of the season, a last - minute 15-14 victory over the Ware County Gators two weeks ago.
"I think we've come back down to earth," Seward said, "and I don't think we're going to be intimidated."
That's good news for Blue Devil fans as Coffee comes to town with a retooled offense and an aggressive defense. The Trojans are also sporting a 4-0-1 record with impressive wins over Lee County and Lowndes.
"They play kind of an 'in your face' defense," Seward said pointing out that Coffee defensive coordinator Neal Roberts has been a familiar foe for many years while at Colquitt County and Worth County. "We have a lot of respect for coach Roberts, he does a good job with them." Defensively, Coffee is lead by linebackers John Youngblood and Tron Paulk.
Seward said the Coffee defense is a lot like the Ware County defense saying, "they like to stunt a lot and they like to put pressure on you. We'll be okay if we can move it on them. And we need to be able to throw it some."
"Their offense handles the ball well," Seward continued. "They fire off the ball well and they have some good backs. They run hard."
The Tift coach recognized the likeness in the Trojans.
"They are very similar to us," he said. "They have a little more speed than we do and they will throw it." According to Seward, Trojan quarterback Lacy Herring is adept at running the play action and will lead the Coffee offense in the wing formation providing an opportunity for some misdirection.
The Blue Devils are completing their second off-week of the season and Seward has been pleased with the practices.
"You know, usually by this time of the year, the kids are tired of practicing," he said, "but that hasn't been the case."
"We had a good week of practice, we got to hit a little bit and we got to get a jump on Coffee."
The week off also allowed the Devils to heal up a little and to get over a virus that had slowed a couple of players down.
"With some of the kids out, it gave us a chance to play some kids in different positions," said Seward. "We should be better for that."
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