The Tigers will have to replace Casey Baynes at quarterback who had 19 wins as a starter the past two seasons.
Tigers look to build from 10-win season
By Michael Butler
Last year’s Tallassee football team did something that had happened just two times since 1921 – win 10 games. The Tigers were 10-2 in 2017. Only the 1999 and 1991 squads have accomplished the same feat.
Casey Baynes, a two-year starter at quarterback, has graduated along with several other seasoned players; however, all-state first-teamer Trent Cochran-Gill and honorable mention Kalvin Levett return for their senior seasons.
“Casey accounted for about 70 touchdowns and 6,000 yards,” said head coach Mike Battles, now entering his seventh season at THS. “Whoever steps into that spot has a great bunch to work with. We return our fullback (Cochran-Gill) and tailback (Markevious Matthews). We return Kalvin.
On defense, we’ve got probably the best linebacking group since I’ve been here. We’ve got Andy Baker on one end and you’ve got Tavarious “Truck” Griffin on the other. As a whole, it’s the youngest group we’ve had. When I say youngest, (it’s) not a negative thing.”
The last two Tallassee teams have been to the second and third rounds of the playoffs. The Tigers have run their streak of post-season appearances up to 10. This year’s group will be back in Class 5A competition. Six of those ten playoff appearances came in 5A.
“What you’re going to see (in 5A) are more athletes on the field. Instead of playing teams that have 30 and 40 players, you’re going to see 60, 70, 80 players,” Battles noted. “I don’t know if tougher is the word to use, it’s going to be as tough.”
The region features five playoff teams from last year among the seven total. Three; Beauregard (10-2), Carroll (11-1) and Tallassee (10-2), had 10+ wins.
“The goal in the first week of the season is to be playing week 11. If you can do that, you’ve got a chance.”
Tallassee opens the season vs. Catholic at J. E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. 1300 WTLS/106.5 FM will broadcast live beginning at 6.