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Football team to face Catholic in spring game Friday

By Michael Butler

Spring football for the Tallassee High School team is happening in 2021 after COVID sidelined it last year. There was a slight snag when workouts began last week; however, the team had no helmets.

THS head coach Mike Battles was concerned about being able to get his 73 players into full gear with a spring game already scheduled vs. Montgomery Catholic. In the 11th hour, the helmets arrived and the Tigers were able to keep the scrimmage on the schedule for this week.

"We had a little issue with the helmets. That was real tense for about 48 hours," said Battles. "If everything had worked out, we planned on practicing Monday-Friday and Monday-Thursday. We got out there and had good practices."

Even though the Tigers were sidetracked, they did have a intra-squad scrimmage on Friday with several spectators in the stands to watch. The team will work everyday this week leading up to the game with Catholic on May 14 at 7 p.m. at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium.

"We're not even approaching it as a game," Battles added. "Coach (Kirk) Johnson is new. Aubrey (Blackwell) went to Benjamin Russell. They're putting in some new things over there. We're working on ourselves."

The first two quarters of the game will be played like an in-season game. Each team's opening drive of the first series of the second half will also be played like a regular game.

"After that everybody gets some reps."

Catholic is coming off of a banner year. The Knights were 12-3 in 2020 and state runners-up in Class 3A coming up just short against Fyffe 21-16 in the title game. Tallassee missed the post-season with a 3-7 record on paper, although two of the losses were region forfeits.

"It was tough on the coaches and the players," Battles said. "If you go back to March 15 last year and count the days we've been apart and together, we've been apart more than we've been together. Since we've gotten them all together, it's been good."

Jayln Daniels is back for his senior season. He was clocked with a 4.38 40-yard dash at the recent DexPreps Camp.

This season, the Tigers open at Reeltown. Battles expects full-capacity crowds in 2021. The teams on the schedule are the same for this year as last, but there a couple of minor changes.

"We'll start off with Reeltown. I'm assuming on that Thursday night. I'm hoping we get to have the full crowd. I haven't heard anything different. The change is that Talladega this year was supposed to be a home game for us. The state came out and passed a ruling that said that if you were supposed to be the visiting team last year and had to forfeit, you will be the visiting team this year.

"Instead of Talladega coming to us, we'll go to Talladega. And the last game, instead of us going to Carroll of Ozark, they will come to us. Homecoming is now week nine, Clay Central. Week ten, Carroll is now Senior Night. We'll split the gates for those two games to make it equitable."