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The trek up the hill begins here

Tackling the "Hill"

By Michael Butler

The off-season for athletes is what prepares them for the upcoming season. It's a conditioning thing. At Tallassee High School, the "Hill" is what challenges Tiger players.

The hill is the steep climb behind J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium that leads from the boat ramp at Graveyard Creek from East Roosevelt to Lake Tallassee Drive.

"We have a pretty extensive summer plan," THS head coach and athletic director Mike Battles said of his football team's schedule. "I told them how lucky and blessed we are to have that boat ramp. That's what we run all summer long."

The length of the hill is approximately 800 feet, but the elevation is roughly 100 feet higher at the top than the bottom.

"Our kids get down there and we run the different poles," Battles added. "We'll start off on the third telephone pole that's a 125-yard climp and work our way up. It's tough at first, but our kids also know that there's nothing better than being out there on a Friday night in the third or fourth quarter. They're over there dropping every play, and we're over there lining up and running one play after another.

View from the top

"The old kids understand it right now. They don't look forward to it, but they know it's necessary. The younger kids don't really know what about to happen, but they will. Condition is so important in the first third of the season. You can beat teams that are on paper athletically better than you. You can beat them if you're in shape and can play in the third and fourth quarter."

Tallassee's football team will start back up for the summer on June 4 and work three days a week until fall practice.

"This is something we do that takes away from the monotony of running gassers and 110's. I've come up it a few times and thought I was going to have some oxygen at the end. If we didn't have the hill, I know a lot of older Tallassee teams ran the mill steps. It's kind of a code of honor."

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