Deerfield coach Allen Lowe's team needed a last-second drive to beat Tattnall earlier this year, and now the rematch is on tonight in the first round of state.
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WHO: Tattnall Square (4-7) at Deerfield (10-1).
WHAT: GISA Class AAA state playoff opener for both teams.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today.
LIVE SCORING UPDATES: twitter.com/AlbHeraldsports.
ALBANY — Four straight wins against Tattnall Square is a streak not many teams have strung together in the last decade. Another one tonight and Deerfield-Windsor may have to patent the secret and sell it.
If Knights head coach Allen Lowe knows what it is, he’s not telling just yet.
“Every time we play it just comes down to one or two things,” said Lowe, whose team takes on old foe Tattnall Square at 7:30 p.m., today in the first round of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs. “(Tonight) is going to be a war.”
Tattnall (4-7) and DWS (10-1) will meet in the first round for the first time after years of playoff battles deep into the postseason. After losing to the Trojans in 10 of 11 tries prior to the 2008 playoffs, the top-seeded Knights have won four straight in the series and their seniors have never lost to Tattnall on the football field.
But this is no first-round cakewalk, despite the winning streak.
Deerfield needed everything it had to pull out a 20-19 win in Macon earlier this season on a night when Tattnall honored head coach Barney Hester’s 300 career wins.
The Knights sent the Trojans to 0-5 after that loss, but Tattnall rebounded to win three of its next five and added a forfeit win over injury depleted Arlington Christian.
“That’s the best (four-win) team I’ve ever seen,” Deerfield senior Rich Fallaw said.
The Knights trailed winless Tattnall 19-13 in the second half before quarterback Dallas Margeson hit Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Kh’Ron McClain on a 35-yard scoring pass and Harry Vildibill’s point after gave Deerfield a win in the fourth quarter once its defense came up with a late interception.
“In the Tattnall game, there are always a lot of emotions,” Margeson said. “They have a good program.”
Lowe, who picked up win No. 200 this season, had never won at Tattnall before this season, and he doesn’t expect an easy win in the first round.
“They’ve got a good football team despite their record,” said Lowe, adding that the Trojans have lost by one point three times this season. “It’s very deceiving.”
The Knights now have the advantage of playing at home against the defending Class AAA state champs, who have improved late in the season after moving 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior linebacker Tyler Ward to fullback in order to give the offense a boost.
“(Hester) just knows they’re young and they graduated a lot of guys (off the state title team last season),” said Lowe, who is 4-9-1 against his old rival, 11-time state champion head coach Hester. “Those guys aren’t young anymore. Basically they’ve got a full year under them, and he’s moved some kids around here and there.”
Lowe said his starting defense has given up only one touchdown in the last five games, and the Knights have won nine straight en route to the 1-AAA title. Deerfield may be playing its best ball of the year, but Lowe wants to find out for sure against a recharged Tattnall Square team looking for payback.
“We know what we’re in store for,” Lowe said.