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Tallassee seniors end playoff drought, charge into postseason for first time
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PREP FOOTBALL

Tallassee seniors end playoff drought, charge into postseason for first time

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Tallassee head coach Mike Battles knows what the expectation is every year.

Battles took over as the program’s head coach in 2012 and led the Tigers to six consecutive playoff appearances from 2012-17.

The playoff streak was snapped in 2018, and the current group of Tigers talent has never experienced playoff football before.

But the three-year playoff drought ends this Friday for Tallassee.

The Tigers make their triumphant return to the playoffs when they travel to take on first-round opponent Greenville.

“You want to be at a place that expects to have success and expects things to be done right,” Battles said. “They do here at Tallassee, so our kids are excited, our community’s excited, and that’s how it should be.”

Tallassee came close to securing a playoff spot in 2020 but forfeited two region games because of COVID and missed out on the playoffs by a game.

This year, the team left no doubt as they finished 7-2 on the season and 5-1 in region play. The Tigers finished the regular season on a six-game win streak to punch their ticket to the playoffs as they secured the third seed in Region 4-5A.

And while the current roster doesn’t have any postseason experience, the Tigers have been playing and winning against talented teams week in and week out, which has helped prepare them for the playoffs.

Six of their nine regular-season opponents made the playoffs this year, and the Tigers picked up an impressive win against region champ and No. 1 seed Central-Clay County in the regular season.

So, while they are heading into unfamiliar territory, the Tigers have built up their confidence all season long.

“Every time you win, you get a little bit more confidence,” Battles said. “To be a good football team, you’ve got to beat good football teams, and we’ve been fortunate to have to play some this year and have performed well. Success breeds success.”

One of the players that has helped lead the resurgence for Tallassee is star running back Jalyn Daniels. The senior running back is a jolt of electricity on offense whose impact has to be seen to be believed.

“You just come watch us on Friday nights, you can see,” Battles said of Daniels. “He’s already rushed for 1,500-something yards, and he can score every time he touches the ball. He’s a big threat and is a team player, so he’s meant a lot to us.”

This week, Daniels’ big-play ability will be needed even more as the Tigers look to extend their season in a win-or-go-home game.

“I’m glad for them,” Battles said. “We got an extra game. The senior class, those extra bonus games mean a lot. We’re just glad to still be practicing and glad this bunch got things turned around and got us back in the postseason.”

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