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Homecoming queen Emma Kate Holley
Photos by Kyle Thornton

Homecoming win closes 2020 season

By Michael Butler

The 2020 football season ended on Friday night at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium with a Tallassee win. The win was actually in the bag before the game on the field ever started.

The Tigers beat Bullock County 41-20 in a "replacement non-counter" for homecoming. In the official book, Tallassee will be credited with a 1-0 forfeit victory over Carrroll of Ozark, who had to cancel due to COVID-19.

"Everybody just tried to get as many games as they could (for) the kids," Battles said of all the schedule shuffling. The Tigers originally had Geneva as the replacement for Carroll, but an AHSAA rule nixed it. "It's been one of those years where every morning I got up, I really didn't want to answer the phone. Everybody in our community and administration have done a good job."

Emma Kate Holley was crowned homecoming queen prior to kickoff. Then, the Tigers and Hornets traded scores on their opening drives.

Tallassee's Jalyn Daniels took it in from 16 yards out for the first of three touchdowns on the night. Tallassee was in front 7-6. Early in the second quarter, Jaquavious Lackey picked off a Robert Williams pass and raced 55 yards to the end zone to give the Tigers a 14-6 lead. Shortly afer, Daniels made it 21 unanswered on a 13-yard scamper.

Daniels led Tallassee with 139 yards on the ground on 12 carries. He finished the season with 1,168 rushing yards in eight games.

Tallassee was on top 21-12 at the half and went on to score the next 20 points . Marciano Smith had an 18-yard run for a TD. Daniels added another touchdown of 15 yards. Zavion Carr put an exclamation point on the night with a 14-yard jaunt to paydirt.

The three juniors of Daniels, Smith and Carr combined for 255 yards at an 11-yard per carry clip.

The game was marred by penalties, many of the unsportsmanlike variety. Bullock County committed 18 infractions to Tallassee's 13. The two combined for 225 yards in penalties.

Playing the homecoming game on the final week of the regular season, usually reserved for senior night, was a first for Battles.

"Normally you play it about week six, seven or eight. This year, the fact that we got it in is good. This is 2020. I joked with my mom the other night. There's been many times in my life when she said, 'I'll knock you into next year.' I asked her if the opportunity was still available, because I'd like her to knock me into next year."

Battles with his senior players (bottom row, left to right): Jaquavious Lackey, Trace Meek, Brian Johnston, Thomas Battles, Jacob Dantro. (Top row, left to right): Will Smith, KJ Love, Kalib Baker, Coach Battles, Mason Bell, Hunter Hammock, Michael Moore, Drake Bonner.

The Tigers end the 2020 campaign at 3-7 with three of those games being recorded as forfeits, two as losses and one in the win column.

Battles was overcome with emotion at the end of the evening. His son Thomas is one of 12 seniors on the team who played his final high school football game.

"Our kids have been tremendous. They just want to play the game. They kept us going."

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