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Coach John Goodman with son Brandon and Cason Hornsby

Anglers win state title

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee High School fishing team, also known as the Tallassee Anglers, has won a state championship. The group claimed the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association Smallmouth Division title at Lake Eufaula last weekend and was named the Smallmouth Division team of the year.

This is the third year for the fishing program and its first championship. Coach John Goodman already has a couple of state baseball titles as a head coach, now he adds another trophy.

"It's as good as any of them," said Goodman. "I'm more excited for these guys in what they've done in this short period of time. It's been amazing. It's been a great year."

Tallassee was behind by six points entering the final event of the season.

"We fished as hard as we could each tournament to get the points we needed to come out with the highest score at the end of the season," said Grant McCraney, who fishes with his brother Eli.

When asked, who is the top angler, Grant had a dipolmatic answer. "I can find the fish, but he can catch them."

Goodman explained that getting through a tournament is not just fun and games but hard work.

"It's been a long week," he said. "We've been at the lake since Monday or Tuesday. It was hot. We're getting up at 3:30 in the morning and we're there until 4 or 5 o'clock. It makes for some long days. When you get back home on Sunday, you're worn out."

Michael Markham and Carter Davidson were Tallassee's highest placers over the weekend finishing ninth. The tandem qualified for July's High School Fishing World Finals on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, S.C.

"You get a lot more experience throughout the year fishing different lakes," Davidson said. "You figure things out. We started fishing a new trail last year. Now we're fishing two trails. It's been pretty good. You learn."

There will be over 300 boats in the water at the South Carolina event.

"We just want to make it to the last day - top 12," said Markham. "That would be pretty cool if we can do that."

Tallassee graduates one senior this year in Tyler Autrey.

"I truly believe within the next few years this sport will be a part of the high school association. It's that big," said Goodman. "If you go and watch any of these tournaments and want to see a huge crowd, this is it. Just in this tournament, an invite tournament, we had 175 boats in the senior division and in the junior division 65 boats. When these tournaments hit these towns, the economic value is booming."

Tallassee Anglers - Smallmouth Division (total weight minus penalties)
Michael Markham/Carter Davidson - 10.47 pounds
Grant McCraney/Eli McCraney - 7.84 pounds
Tyler Autrey/Hunter Schieferstein - 4.12 pounds
Brandon Hornsby/Cason Hornsby - 1.79 pounds