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Photo by Rick Golden

2017 - The Year in Sports

By Michael Butler

2017 was a solid sports year on many levels. Let’s look back and review some of the highlights.

The Mat Cats wrestling team won the Alabama Youth Wrestling Championship. It was Tallassee’s first youth wrestling state title. 13 individuals won titles in their weight classes.

The team dedicated the season in memory of Marshall Stough, who was instrumental in getting the Mat Cats a training facility. 

"I told them at the beginning of the season this would be a special season," head coach Brent Tennyson said.  "On the back of our shirts it says rest in peace M.S. for Marshall."

Photo by Miles Hathcock

The high school wrestlers placed third in the state at the Class 1A-5A championships in Huntsville. Jake Baker claimed his second heavyweight title.

Baker won by a 5-3 decision in his title match. His season record was 45-1.

Baker's younger brother Andy, who finished second at state the previous year, was third in the 195 pound class. Zak Haynes (113) was also third for Tallassee.

"I'm very proud of our guys and the way they fought," head coach John Mask said. Mask picked up his 400th win during the season at Tallassee. The Tigers were 39-4.

Segrest celebrating the 10U World Series championship in 2015

Former Tallassee baseball state champion player and coach Mark Segrest was hired to take over the Edgewood Academy softball program.

Segrest led Tallassee's 8U and 10U softball teams to World Series titles in 2014 and 2015.

"I started coaching girls several years ago," Segrest said. "If you show the girls you care about them, they'll put it on the line for you. I've been so pleased. It's so critical at a young age to teach the girls fundamentals."

Tallassee hired a new softball coach for the high school team. Pat Love went 25-17 in his inaugural season.

"(It) was a big improvement for the last few years," Love stated. "We definitely got things going in the right direction and I am looking for big things to come from this team in the future. ”

The Tigers varsity baseball team reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, falling to eventual state champion UMS-Wright. It was Tallassee’s deepest run since 2006.

THS was 26-15 overall.

"I'm very proud of the accomplishments of this team as well as our senior class," coach Adam Clayton said. "This class won almost 100 games in their career with three area titles and three playoff appearances, so they have left a legacy for our future players to strive for."

Dee Williams and Will Peters were first-team all-state selections. Casey Baynes was honorable mention and also participated in the state all-star game in Montgomery.

Tiger fans filling up the seats in Mobile for Tallassee's quarterfinal series vs. UMS-Wright

Dixie Youth Baseballl sluggers Brue Milner and Jamarkius Smith jacked two homers each in the same game in the 7/8-year-old division. Five Tallassee all-star baseball and softball teams advanced to state tournaments. The 6U Dixie Youth Softball Sweeties won it all in Eufaula. The 14U Babe Ruth squad advanced to the World Series Regional in Texas. 10U rookie pitcher Jack Butler hurled a perfect game in Tuscaloosa. 10U all-stars Thomas Lemmond and Cash Gough combined to accomplish the same feat in Troy.

6U State Champs: (front row, left to right): Zadie Stephens, Carlynn Easterling, Kylie Taylor, Emily Watkins, Maddie Tennyson, McCall Clayton. (Back row, left to right): Kaysen Tew, Carli Vargas, Maddy Norrell,  Jazlyn Fitzpatrick
Coaches: Ron Taylor, Brent Tennyson, Jaiton Stephens, Charlie Denning. Submitted by Jessica Taylor.

A former cotton gin opened its doors for youth sports training. The Tallassee Bonded Warehouse now houses the Strike Zone and the Talisi Wrestling Club.

"It's an opportunity for the kids," Property owner Trey Taylor said. "It's going to be a good thing for Tallassee."

Coach Brent Tennyson, who led the Mat Cats to a title, heads up the newly titled Talisi Wrestling Club. "We are excited about this new chapter in training champions."

Craig Vaught is the proprietor of Strike Zone offering baseball and softball instruction.

"I thoroughly enjoy working with young men and women," Vaught said. "It's an honor and a privilege."

Crockett Moyers

The Tallassee Tiger Sharks produced a state champion in the 6U boys freestyle competition in Opelika. Crockett Moyers won the blue ribbon.

"I am so proud," coach Donna Funderburk said. "Crockett was in lane eight and came out first."

Tallassee placed in four more individual events and one team event.

The 9/10 boys were third in the medley relay. Moyers added a bronze medal to his gold with a third place finish in the boys 6U backstroke. Camden Mask was second in the boys 9/10 breast stroke. Macey Stewart was also second in the girls 9/10 freestyle. Chase Webster was third in the boys 9/10 freestyle.

The high school launched a swimming and diving program in the fall. Jamie Aldridge took over the new team with Funderburk serving as the team’s mentor.

Prior to the start of the 2017 school year, Keiven Mixson was introduced as the new Tallassee High School boys basketball coach.

The Tallassee Tigers football team posted its best record since 1999 and just its third 10-win season in its 97-year history.  The season included the purple and gold’s first win over T.R. Miller in dramatic style, a come-from-behind victory that erased a 22-point second half deficit.

Quentin Jeter kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime in the Tigers's first-round playoff game to give Tallassee a 35-32 win over Thomasville.

Tallassee fans storm the field in Brewton after the Tigers upended T.R. Miller.
Photo by Holley Taylor

Tallassee went 10-2, ending its season in the second round at Bibb County. Trent Cochran-Gill was a first-team all-state selection. Kalvin Levett was honorable mention.

"They’re going to look back and see it was a great year," head coach Mike Battles said. "They’ve won 19 ball games the last two years. The saddest thing is the season’s over. The thing about the playoffs is unless you win it all, you’re going to end with a loss. This group of seniors has represented Tallassee exactly how they’re supposed to."

The Tallassee Youth Football League sophomores went undefeated during the 2017 campaign to win the East Alabama Youth Football League Championship. The Tigers beat Macon County in the title game 25-20 in Alex City.

"I'm proud of them," head coach Brent Milner said. "It's not only a great group of kids but great parents."

Sophomore League Champs
Submitted by Brent Milner

Reeltown won two titles, both over Macon County, 7-6 in the freshmen division and 14-0 in the junior age group. Chad Ledbetter coached the freshmen and Larry Foy the juniors.

In the cheer competition, the Tallassee freshmen and Reeltown seniors also won crowns.

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