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Derrck Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Douglas County defensive coordinator Shawn Austin's unit must stop an Alpharetta offense that is averaging 322 yards and 32 points a game.

After opening the season with a loss to Milton in the season-opener, Alpharetta has basically coasted to 10 straight wins.

The Raiders were only challenged once during that run, a 34-31 win over Centennial in the second week of September.

Douglas County is hoping to poise a challenge on the Raiders as the battle in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs on Friday.

The fifth-ranked Tigers will make the trip to Alpharetta after a 13-6 win over Dalton in the first round. It was the team’s first playoff win since the 2005 season.

Alpharetta, the Region 7-AAAAAA champions, defeated Gainesville, 40-24, for a second time this season to advance to the second round.

The Raiders have never gotten past the second round of the playoff since the school opened in 2004.

“They throw the ball well around the field,” Douglas County coach Johnny White said of Friday’s opponent. “I think we have scene similar type offenses coming through our region. I think we should be fine.”

The Tigers have lived off their defense throughout the course of the season. A quick, and big front four has allowed athletic linebackers Braelen Oliver, Josh Slay and Xavier Hopson to be the main playmakers for the Tigers.

“I’m not sure they have scene a defense as fast as ours,” White said. “I know Alpharetta is playing with a lot of confidence coming into the game on a 10-game winning streak. Those games really haven’t been as close.”

Douglas County also boost a quality offense when healthy.

Standout senior running back Uriah West has missed three games this season, but looked strong in last week’s win. He had 166 yards rushing against Dalton.

Junior quarterback Marquise’ Collins produced the team’s only offensive touchdown but coordinator Travis Smith was pleased at how the team moved the ball.

“We moved the ball in the third quarter but had some breakdowns in the fourth,” Smith said. “It wasn’t as much as what Dalton was doing but we had one player on each play to miss an assignment. Dalton pinned their ears back in the fourth quarter. We have identified those problem areas and have worked on it this week.”

Alpharetta will come into the contest with a balanced offense that is averaging 322 yards per game. The offense is led by quarterback Matthew Downing, who has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards and 17 touchdowns with one interceptions.

It has been sort of a running back by committee with Nolan Edmonds leading the way with 804 yards and 13 touchdowns on 94 carries. Two other running backs have over 70 carries for the Raiders.

In the win over Gainesville, Edmonds ran for 122 yards and scored three touchdowns. He had a 39-yard run, a 36-yard reception and a 98-yard kickoff return.

While the majority of the Raiders games have been blowouts with an 18.2 average margin of victory, Douglas County has played several close games. Although the Tigers have a 17.5 average margin of victory, they relied on their defense to make big game-ending drives against Carver-Columbus, Langston Hughes, Tri-Cities, Alexander and Dalton.

“We have five real close games,” White said. “This defense has done it when it counted. To make a run in the playoffs you have to play good defense and have a good run game to eat up the clock.”

 

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