BY JAKE GONZALEZ
FOR THE OBSERVER
Dadeville head coach Roger McDonald is heading into his third season at the helm of the Tigers and has made the playoffs each of the last two seasons. That is a feat that the Tigers have not accomplished in five years.
“That’s what we have done at Dadeville,” McDonald said. “We came in on both sides of the ball and changed a few things, and the kids have bought into it and the coaches have bought into it.”
Each of the past two seasons, Dadeville has finished with a record of 6-4. That record was enough to finish fourth in region 4 of 3A and make the playoffs. The most dramatic improvement on the roster since McDonald arrived had been the scoring average jump from year one to year two where the Tigers averaged almost 10 more points a game.
“We have a lot of guys returning and seven guys returning on offense,” McDonald said. “We feel pretty good there. Just trying to plug a few guys in and maybe one more defensive lineman. I do know these kids work extremely hard and do whatever you ask them to do.”
The Tigers did it in an unusual way, only completing 1.9 passes per game and totaling 19 completions all season. Dadeville instead opted to utilize the ground game, where they averaged just under 7 yards per carry and scored 25 touchdowns.
“Coach McDonald was asked last year if he’d ever get in the shotgun,” said D. Mark Mitchell, host of the media days. “He answered, ‘every time I punt.’”
McDonald and the Tigers have been bounced out of the playoffs in the first round of each of the last two seasons. The team has already set the standard that they want to get past that round. McDonald believes that if it wasn’t for a couple of injuries, Dadeville would have made it to the third round.
“Avanta [Wilson] got hurt going into week 10, so he didn’t get cleared for the first round of the playoffs,” McDonald said. “If Vontae had played they wouldn’t have scored but once. We would have matched up with Hillcrest Evergreen in the second round, and we felt like we could have beat them.”
Dadeville opens the 2022-2023 season with a matchup at home against BB Comer. The last time these two schools met was in 2009 when Dadeville won 35-7. That matchup will take place on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.