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Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Tallassee’s Tyler Ellis throws the ball againt Elmore County.

Although there was plenty of excitement surrounding Tallassee’s return to competition this week, the Tigers knew it was not going to be an easy task as they had just two days of practice to prepare for Class 5A No. 4 and Region 4 champion Clay Central. The Volunteers shut down any signs of a Tallassee offense and eased their way to a 33-0 home victory to cap off region play, ending Tallassee’s slim playoff hopes.

Clay Central (8-1, 6-0) got the scoring started in the first quarter as Elisha McNeil raced 64 yards for a touchdown. The Volunteers added another touchdown before the end of the frame with an interception return for a score by Terry Heflin.

Tallassee (2-7, 2-4) could not clean up the turnovers as the night went on as the Tigers threw four interceptions, three from quarterback Tyler Ellis and one from Marciano Smith on a trick play.

The Tigers finished with just 66 yards of total offense while Clay Central racked up 399. Ellis completed 8-of-16 pass attempts for 19 yards while one of the region’s top rushers Jalyn Daniels was limited to just 24 yards on 13 carries.

Tallassee’s defense helped keep the visitors in the game on with a couple of takeaways of its own. Clayten Gough had an interception on Clay Central’s opening drive while Smith recovered a fumble early in the fourth quarter.

After Smith’s takeaway, Tallassee got into its best field position of the night but an interception from Clay Central’s Davion Thomas inside the red zone ended the scoring threat. The Volunteers finished the game off with a 15-play drive to run off the final nine minutes on the clock.

The loss for Tallassee means the Tigers will be outside of the postseason for the third consecutive season, the program’s longest drought since 1982.