|Ziggy Holloway with the catch
Photos by Kyle Thornton
Tigers top Clay, share region title
By Michael Butler
Tallassee returned to J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium on Friday with a chance to clinch at least a tie for the Class 5A/Region 4 title. They did just that - with a 39-28 win over No. 6 Central of Clay County.
"Anytime you can get a win against Clay Central, it's great for your kids," Tallassee head coach Mike Battles said. "Our kids played hard. They played with effort all year. They played exceptionally hard tonight and came up with some unbelievable plays."
Tigers quarterback Tyler Ellis connected with Ziggy Holloway on a 50-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage, the first of several big plays in a balanced offensive attack that netted 523 yards.
Ellis was 13-for-20 for 255 yards with three touchdowns. Holloway had six catches for 181 yards and a TD. Both totals were single-game highs for each.
"Tyler threw the ball really well. We had the running game and (the) defense played lights out," Battles noted.
Jalyn Daniels had 148 yards rushing on 18 carries and a score. Ellis added 86 yards on 14 rushes. Zavion Carr tacked on a couple more rushing touchdowns.
"It's Senior Night," said Battles. "That night's just as much for your family as it is for you. The best present you can give them is to play hard and win this ball game, so I think we've had a great night."
Clay Central grabbed the early 7-0 lead scoring on its first drive with a 33-yard run by Elisha McNeil. Carr scored the Tigers' first touchdown on a two-yard run. The extra point was blocked. It was 7-6 after the first quarter.
McNeil scored his second toucdown on a run from 19 yards out to make it 14-6 early in the second quarter. The Tigers would score the game's next 33 points.
A penalty on a fourth-and-four gave Tallassee a first down extending a drive that ended with a four-yard toss from Ellis to Clayten Gough for a touchdown. Gough was on the receiving end of the two-point play from Carr to even it again, 14-14 at the half.
Tallassee covered up a Volunteers' fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 40 yards to take the lead, 21-14, on Ellis' 15-yard strike to Dontae Leonard.
Ellis was not done. He connected with Holloway again on a 77-yard pass for another touchdown. It was 27-14. The Tigers added fourth quarter TD runs by Daniels and Carr to extend the advantage from 33-14 to 39-14 with 3:46 left.
Clay Central got two more touchdowns in the final minutes from Terry Heflin and Ladamian Boyd.
There is now a three-way tie atop the region with Tallassee, Clay Central and Sylacauga. The Tigers will play Carroll of Ozark on Friday at 7 p.m. for homecoming. Pregame festivities will begin at 6:30.
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.
*Photos by Kyle Thornton