While no win is guaranteed on the football field, every team tries to find a game on its schedule with a high percentage of a victory to plan for a homecoming night. Usually picking a team that was winless the prior season is a good bet but in Tallassee’s case, its opponent has made a drastic turn around.
After recording its first ever 0-10 season in 2018, Rehobeth has responded with a 5-1 start and the Rebels currently sit in position to host a playoff game in November. Tallassee coach Mike Battles knows this year’s homecoming game may be more challenging than usual and he wants his Tigers to be ready once they hit the field Friday night.
“I want them to enjoy the experience,” Battles said. “They do it big up here in Tallassee for homecoming. But when it boils down to it, it comes down to football game and Rehobeth doesn’t really care if it’s homecoming so that’s how we have to approach it.”
Tallassee (2-3, 1-2 Class 5A Region 2) is starting a three-week stretch with region games that will determine if the Tigers make the playoffs. Tallassee may need to win all three games to clinch one of the four playoff spots and Battles said his players know what’s at stake this week.
“Our kids know about it most of the time so we don’t have to add any extra pressure,” Battles said. “You still want to finish up the season good no matter what so we don’t want to put all the extra pressure on one game. We want to be one of the four teams that go and we control our own destiny but I don’t want it to be all is lost if we lose one of these games.”
The Rebels (5-1, 3-1) are looking to stay in the hunt for a region title and they are doing it with the same formula every week. In its four region games, Rehobeth has scored more than six points just once but they have also allowed more than six points only once. The Rebels are currently riding a four-game winning streak which includes a 6-0 win at Greenville and a 6-3 win against Carroll.
“They’re playing really sound defense right now,” Battles said. “They may not be scoring a lot of points but they’re not giving up a lot of points either. That tells us they play really well defensively and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
One of the biggest reasons Rehobeth has had low-scoring games is its offensive style of play. While it is not a true triple-option, the Rebels rely heavily on the rushing attack and use different motions to keep the opposing defense off balance.
“They just do a good job everywhere,” Battles said. “They remind me of those old school wishbone teams that run the triple option right, triple option left and if you stop them once, they’ll just run it again. They are a double-wing team and there’s not many plays they run but they are highly effective at it.”
Battles said this week will present a unique challenge to his defense but the key will be to stay flat along the line of scrimmage. He said he does not want his players looking to bust through the offensive line on every play because that is what Rehobeth will want so it can open holes in the middle of the field to get their running backs in space.
“Defenses now are traditionally attack defenses wanting to get up the field but if you do that against a wing-T, they are going to trap you and get upfield,” Battles said. “We are a read front defense which can play good against that kind of stuff so it will be important for us to do what we’re supposed to and line up the correct way.”
Battles said Rehobeth has good players in the backfield but what stands out the most on film is how well the offensive line executes.
Tallassee’s offense will have to counter with possession of its own to keep the defense from wearing down against the strength of Rehobeth’s offense.
“Points are going to come at a premium,” Battles said. “We’ll do the best we can to slow them down and they obviously do a great job of slowing everyone else down. When you get an opportunity to make a play or a chance inside the red zone, you have to take it.”
PREDICTION: Tallassee 10, Rehobeth 9