Photos by Kyle Thornton
Tigers survive Warriors comeback
By Gary Buchanan
Russell County had an upset on their mind in the season opener at J.E.”Hot” O’Brien Stadium on Friday night. Tallassee put those thoughts to rest with a fourth quarter drive and some timely defense. The Tigers persevered to win 21-14.
Tallassee scored on two of its first three possessions as they jumped out to an early lead. Casey Baynes capped off an eight-play drive with a one-yard plunge. Later, Baynes hit Kalvin Levett for a 51-yard touchdown reception.
Russell County fought back to score on the last play of the first quarter. A 25-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion closed the gap to 15-8 THS. The Warriors followed that with an interception return for touchdown on the last play of the first half. Andy Baker blocked the PAT to leave the score 15-14 at the half.
The third quarter belonged to both defenses as neither team put points on the board. Tallassee’s Jalen Johnson finally broke through with a seven-yard touchdown run with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter. A failed PAT left the score at 21-14. An interception by Levett, on Russell County’s last possession, sealed the victory for the Tigers.
Coach Mike Battles was pleased with the effort of his players. “There were a lot of opportunities tonight to lay down and quit. This game will go a long way to help us have a successful season. Our kids really had to dig down deep tonight.”
Junior running back Jalen Johnson gave the Tigers a boost in the fourth quarter. He finished the night with 11 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. Asked about Johnson’s performance, Coach Battles said, “Our offensive line started blocking, Jalen ran hard, and we started making plays.” Johnson earned the Spectrum Player of the Game honors.
Tallassee travels to Brewton next Friday night to take on W.S. Neal. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. 1300 WTLS/106.5 FM will broadcast live with an airtime of 6:00. Audio will be simulcast on TuneIn Radio and Spectrum Cable TV Channel 97. Video is available on Tallassee Times TV.
*See more Photos by Kyle Thornton.