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The Countdown Is On: Next week will kick off the 2022 high school football season. The headliner will be in Tallassee with the Tigers playing host to Reeltown.

There is a real opportunity to have one of the biggest crowds we've ever seen at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium. The rivalry is deadlocked at 9-9 and 1-1 since the 2020 renewal.

It was in the Covid-restricted O'Brien Stadium in 2020 that we got the only overtime game in the history of the series. Reeltown won 27-21 in what we now call, "The Battle of the Tallapoosa."

Tallassee avenged the loss with a decisive 34-13 win on the soggy turf at Nix-Webster-O'Neal Stadium last season.

Last year's Tallassee team averaged 30 points per game, its best average since the 2016 season. It was the third highest scoring offense under Battles behind the 2016 and 2012 squads.

The 2012 team set the record for points scored in a season with 458 averaging 38 points per contest. That was Battles' first season. It eclipsed the 1999 team's 454 total points at a 32 ppg clip.

If the weather is right, expect the stadium to be near capacity this year. We've yet to see that in the newer, larger facility that was renovated in 2010.

In the first game of the '10 season, Tallassee had close to 5,000 in attendance as they beat Benjamin Russell 19-17. It's the most we've seen there since maybe the Jemison semifinal of 1999.

There have been some huge crowds over the years. The first-ever Reeltown/Tallassee matchup is among them (back in 1984). This will be the first game in the series without longtime coach Duane Webster there to see it.

Webster passed away earlier this year. The hall-of-famer was not only a great coach but a great man. Without his efforts, this rivalry might not have happened.

I spoke with Coach Webster prior to the reboot of the series a few years ago. He was in favor of the game being played. He said it was good for both communities. He was right.