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Tallassee's Marciano Smith is wrapped up during last year's battle. Photos by Kyle Thornton

Rivalry's renewal moves to Reeltown

By Michael Butler

The "Battle of the Tallapoosa" continues in 2021. This year, the Tallassee/Reeltown game will be played on the east side of the Tallapoosa at Nix-Webster-O'Neal Stadium in Reeltown.

Reeltown won the 2020 contest 27-21 in overtime at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium . The 2,200 allotted tickets sold out in three hours last year. This time around, there will be no COVID restrictions.

"We've been in some really big games, but the crowd and the atmosphere for this game will be really amazing," Reeltown head football coach Matt Johnson said. "The whole pageantry for this game is on a different level."

Even with limited numbers last year, the game still had a big-game feel and lived up to the hype.

"The fans played a massive part in the game for us," Johnson said.

Reeltown's Marcus Haynes hauled in two TD passes from Gabe Bryant as the Rebels ran to a 27-21 OT victory last season

Tallassee head coach Mike Battles talked about having a full house for this year's game.

"For our kids and their kids, it's probably going to be the biggest arena that they've played a high school football game," Battles said. "I'm excited. It's going to be a monumental game.

"They've got the bragging rights for 364 days. If there's not a lot on the line it's not a real rivarly. As long as we can keep this thing cordial, I think it's good for both communities - not just for the money that's made."

Like last year, the dollars that are made at the gate will be split between the two schools.

The Tigers' Zavion Carr scored two touchdowns in the 2020 matchup

"Our kids and their kids spend a lot of time together," Battles added. "They get out and work together in the summer. It's one night - let's get after each other. The rest of the time we'll take care of business."

As for keeping the rivalry on the schedule for future years, both coaches are in favor of it.

"It's a great game. It's great for both communities," said Johnson. "Both administrations have a great relationship. Our coaching staffs have a great relationship. I hope it continues."

Battles agrees.

"As long as everybody can play nice together, I think we need to keep this thing going. I don't see any reason why we would not keep it going. It's as big a high school game as you'll get."

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19 in Reeltown. Tickets are available via GoFan.

1300 WTLS/106.5 FM will have live coverage on the radio as well as Spectrum Channel 340 and the TuneIn app. Live video streaming will be available through Tallassee Times TV on YouTube. Airtime is 6 p.m.