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SMS to play for title

By Michael Butler

The Southside Middle School Tigers scored early and often en route to a 60-26 win over Eclectic Middle School at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium on Monday. Now, on to the "Ship!"

The first-round playoff win sets up a rematch of last year's title game vs. Pike Road, a team the Tigers beat 30-16 on Sept. 14.

SMS scored on its first play from scrimmage, a 70-yard run by Lil' Josh Griffin. Griffin was responsible for seven of the Tigers' eight touchdowns.

"He's just a tremendous athlete, a really special athlete," head coach Adam Clayton said. "He does a great job."

Griffin scored in just about every possible way. He had three TD runs, two passing scores, a punt return for a touchdown and pick six. Tae Martin had a receiving touchdown and kick return for another score. Land Bell also had a touchdown catch.

Tallassee ran out to a 54-12 lead at the half reaching 60 with a running clock in the second half. Clayton has been involved with the middle school program for all but a handful of his 19 years in Tallassee. It is the most points scored by one of his teams.

"(We've) not scored 60 until last night and definitely not 54 in one half. We scored pretty quick on every drive."

It was the second victory over Eclectic this year. The Tigers topped the Panthers 36-0 just a week earlier.

"I've watched this group grow up," Clayton added. "It's a really competitive group. This is probably one of the most talented teams I've ever had. You go back to the years of Trey Cochran-Gill and Davis Knapp. We went undefeated two years in a row. That was a really good group. We've been very fortunate here."

The championship game will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19 at O'Brien Stadium in Tallassee. Tickets will be $7 each at the gate.

The game will be broadcast on 1300 WTLS/106.5 FM beginning at 5 p.m. with the simulcast on the TuneIn app. Live video streaming will be on Tallassee Times TV through YouTube and Spectrum Channel 340.