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Lil' Josh Griffin is just out of reach
Photos by Kyle Thornton

Tallassee tops Panthers in Thursday thriller

By Michael Butler

A packed stadium. A battle between two rivals. An exciting finish. Tallassee beat Elmore County 26-20 on Thursday night at Burt-Haynie Field in Eclectic, breaking a four-game losing streak and extended its streak to seven straight over the Panthers in the series.

The game, which was moved from its original Friday date, came down to the final seconds. With 7.6 ticks remaining, Tallassee's Joseph Hooks sacked Elmore County quarterback Payton Stephenson at his own 47. The Panthers used their final timeout with 1.9 left on the clock. On the next play, Stephenson's long heave sailed out of bounds.

"Our kids talked about it," THS head coach Mike Battles said. "Let's go finish the job. We've been a second half team all year. This is a good one for our seniors. Most of them have never lost to Elmore County. I'm proud for them."

The teams traded touchdowns in the first half. CJ Wilkes scored from 10 yards out to give the Panthers the early 7-0 lead. At the end of the quarter, Lil' Josh Griffin's 20-yard scamper tied it. It was a 7-7 game at the half.

Tallassee fell behind early in the third after Wilkes picked off a Tyler Ellis pass and ran 38 yards to paydirt. It was 14-7.

Tallassee countered with a scoring drive on its next possession. Ellis scored on a 10-yard run. A missed extra point made it 14-13. The Tigers grabbed their first lead on an 11-yard run by Ellis later in the third. Carswell's extra point gave Tallassee a 20-14 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Tallassee made it a two-possession game when Griffin scored his second TD of the night - a 23-yard run. The two-point try failed, and it was 26-14.

Elmore County picked up its final score on a two-yard run by Stephenson.

Tyler Ellis looks for an opening as Jatwon Griffin paves the way

"We just needed a win," Battles said of the victory which ended the program's longest losing streak since the 2015 season. "We had to get our confidence back. That takes a lot, especially when you're used to winning and you lose four games. Everybody needs to be proud of them and quit worrying about the four we lost and talk about the one we won tonight."

Griffin had 140 yards on 14 carries. Ellis added 17 rushes for 113 yards. Wilkes led all runners with 179 yards on 24 attempts.

"We got some spirit back," Battles stated. "I know a lot of people counted us out. Most that counted us out are not in that locker room. The ones in that locker room are still playing football."

Homecoming is next for Tallassee versus Valley on Friday, Oct. 7 at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium. Pregame festivities including the crowing of the homecoming queen begin at 6:30 p.m. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Score 94.7/Hit 106.9 will have live coverage beginning at 6. Audio streaming is available at: with an audio simulcast on Spectrum Cable Channel 340. Video is streamed on Tallassee Times TV through YouTube.

*View Photos by Kyle Thornton