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Photo by Kyle Thornton

Battles looks to build off last year

By Michael Butler

Tallassee head football coach Mike Battles enters his 12th season at THS. Battles is 77-45 here, but he is approaching 200 wins as a head coach. The overall record in 26 years is 194-100.

May 8 is the first day of spring practice for Battles and the coaching staff with 62 players on the roster.

"We always plan it the first Monday after the state track meet," said Battles. "We're going to practice nine days and go out with a glorified practice."

That "glorified practice" will be an intrasquad scrimmage. Last year's opponent for the end of spring work was Russell County. The Warriors are unavailable this year with a shift in the fall schedule elminating its spring play date.

"You like to play a spring game," Battles said. "I don't like to play one team a quarter then another team. I like to play a game. That's football. We looked around. I called some folks but never could get anything worked out."

The main purpose for the spring is to get film on the players and evaluate.

"We'll try them at some different positions. We want to make sure that when we go into the summer that we feel good that this is where that individual is going to be able to help."

There are some holes to fill as always. Tallassee had 12 seniors on last year's team.

"We return most of our interior line. Micah Cole is going to play at Morehouse," Battles noted. "We got hit pretty hard at linebacker, but we do have two of our four back. We had four senior defensive backs, so that's going to be a position that we're really focused on in spring."

Caden Griffith is among those seniors on defense. He broke the single-season record for tackles with 126. Quarterback Tyler Ellis has also graduated.

"We've got guys who have taken snaps, but you lose a four-year starter," Battles pointed out. "The good thing about offense is we have some good folks returning that can run, Cade Everson and Josh Griffin."

Everson with a touchdown grab in the playoffs vs. Selma last year.
Photo by Kyle Thornton

Everson, a senior, and Griffin, a junior, are already on the radar for college teams.

"I think Josh has a realistic chance at the next level. He's prototypical. When he gets there he doesn't mind hitting you. We've had a lot of colleges come through the past few weeks.

"Cade can do so many things. He could really flourish when he goes to a place where he plays one position. A lot of college coaches are looking at him as a slot receiver. He's got the one thing that you can't teach or coach - speed. I can tell you this, he hasn't been caught by fast people."

The Tigers were 7-5 last year. The 2022 squad was knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by Charles Henderson.

"We've got some good kids. We've got a good senior class. (We) talk with them about what we expect. We expect to be in the playoffs. We expect to compete for the region championship. It's a pretty competitive region."

The season begins on Aug. 24 at Reeltown.