With the playoffs out of the picture, Tallassee needed to find some extra inspiration as the Tigers searched for their first win over Beauregard since 2010. After falling behind 14-13 at halftime, Tallassee made some small tweaks to its offense and put the ball in the hands of Tavarious “Truck” Griffin who scored three second-half touchdowns to lead the Tigers to victory.
“When we heard we were out of the playoffs, you always gauge where your players are at based off the next Monday,” Tallassee coach Mike Battles said. “Our players showed up and went to work. Our seniors played lights out and Truck had a large part in our success on both sides of the ball. The team follows right behind his leadership.”
Griffin finished with 214 yards on 23 carries and scored all five of Tallassee’s touchdowns in the 35-28 win. Griffin is the Elmore County Player of the Week.
Battles said Griffin had a “pretty good night” but agreed that statement may be underselling the senior’s performance in his final Class 5A Region 2 game. While Griffin started the season as a starting linebacker and the top receiving option, he has moved into a role in the backfield and saw his usage rate climb even higher against Beauregard.
“We put in that formation but I didn’t know I would get it that much,” Griffin said. “We saw it was working every play though so we kept doing it. We knew we had to run downhill at them and had to be more physical to win the game.”
At halftime, Battles said the coaching staff made some adjustments to the offensive strategy after realizing its players could not run outside against the Hornets. And once the Tigers decided to turn to a more physical style of running, it was a no-brainer to get the ball to Griffin.
“He’s a really good athlete and he doesn’t get tackled by just one person often,” Battles said. “It wasn’t anything that really required a lot of thought.”
Griffin showed all his skills on his final touchdown run when he raced 58 yards to put the Tigers ahead by two scores in the fourth quarter.
“I saw the gap and I hit it,” Griffin said. “I broke two or three tackles on the way. I wasn’t going to let them bring me down. That was crazy to me; I never thought I’d score that many touchdowns in a game. I didn’t expect to have that many yards either.”
Griffin said he was feeling a little bit of extra pressure heading into the week to make sure his teammates were staying positive despite missing the playoffs. While Griffin’s stats were off the charts, Battles said there was nothing special about Griffin’s performance because he puts in that kind of effort week in and week out.
“It was no different than what he does on every Friday night,” Battles said. “He prepares well and he plays hard. We went into halftime and came out with a couple of adjustments and ran the ball right at them. Truck hit the holes and made some plays when we needed him to but he didn’t do anything he hadn’t been doing all year.”
Earlier in the season, Griffin said he still enjoyed playing defense more than offense but he admitted that may have changed with last week’s performance. Griffin has carried more and more of the offensive load as the season progresses and he said Friday was the most fun he has had on the football field.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Griffin said. “It feels really good to score a touchdown. I still love playing defense and getting a fourth down stop or a turnover feels good but I think I like playing offense a little more now. It’s close though.”