The Bulldogs have a tough task by having to travel 245 miles to Mobile and trying to overcome a UMS-Wright squad that has five state titles in its history and is consistently atop the Class 4A rankings.
UMS-Wright has won four state championships since 2000 and has been to the playoffs 19 straight seasons. The last time UMS-Wright wasn’t in the postseason, none of its current players had been born.
Dora has seen its share of football success, but tonight’s game is only the school’s third trip to the state semifinals (1985, 1988 and 2012). Bulldogs are 1-1 in semifinal games, winning in 1985.
If the Bulldogs win tonight, it will be because of its high-powered ground attack. A trio of Dora players — Kai Thomas, DeMarcus Kirk and Caleb May — have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this year. Thomas has almost 2,000 yards and 33 touchdowns on the season.
May, the team’s dual-threat quarterback, has also thrown for more than 1,000 yards and has a combined 26 touchdowns, despite only being 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds.
Being a Dora graduate, I’m a proud Bulldog fan.
I’m definitely not a fair-weather fan.
I saw just about every game during the team’s 15-game losing streak in 1999-2000. I’ve also been there for some of the Bulldogs’ proudest moments, but because I was in first grade in 1985, I’ve never seen the team play in the state finals.
I’m sure many in the Bulldog nation noticed I picked against the team on our “Out on a Limb” predictions this week. That’s one pick that I hope I get wrong. I also picked against Dora last week when they beat Charles Henderson in a third-round matchup.
Maybe coach Johnny Wright can use my negative prediction to motivate the Bulldogs to a huge win tonight.
To all the Bulldogs out there, I’ll end this column with the Dora high School Alma Mater, which was written by Fay Thomas Bobo, a 1941 Dora graduate:
May the Blue and the Gold of our banner so bright
Fill our hearts full of joy and delight.
To our dear Alma Mater we'll ever be true
No matter what e'er be the tide.
We pledge all our love, and our loyalty, too
To maintain the high standards begun
May the Gold never tarnish, the Blue ne'er grow dim
'Til the goals of our hopes have been won.
James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.