The trip to Montgomery in Week 0 was never going to be easy for Tallassee but the Tigers appeared to be up for the challenge, scoring the first touchdown of the game and holding a lead deep into the second quarter. However, Montgomery Catholic turned the momentum late in the first half before running away with a 28-7 victory over the Tigers on a rainy Friday night.
After both teams forced a punt on the opening possessions of the game, Tallassee responded with a 13-play, 60-yard drive which took nearly eight minutes off of the clock. Marciano Smith capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 9:47 to go in the half.
“Our game plan, once it started raining, was to line up and run right at them,” Tallassee coach Mike Battles said. “It was working for a little while but they did a good job and their kids played hard. They’ve got a good football team. I thought we played well at times but we made some crucial mistakes and didn’t make some plays when we needed to.”
Montgomery Catholic responded with a 13-play touchdown drive of its own and the Knights tied the game with just under three minutes left on the clock. Tallassee got set behind the sticks and punted after just three plays, giving the Knights another opportunity just before the break.
With just three seconds left in the second quarter, Montgomery Catholic took the lead with a 4-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers had a strong showing for 24 minutes but the final offensive snap of the half was too much for the visitors to recover.
“We’re young and we’ll learn a little bit more from it next week,” Battles said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and it would’ve been the same way if we would have won, we’d just be a little bit happier.”
Catholic opened the second half with a 93-yard touchdown drive and scored the final touchdown of the game on the following drive, taking its 28-7 lead with 34 seconds to go in the third quarter.
The lead forced Tallassee away from the rushing attack as the Tigers turned to freshman quarterback Tyler Ellis in his first start. Ellis complete eight of his 11 pass attempts for 63 yards but his fumble in the fourth quarter helped seal the deal for the Knights.
“He had some good plays and some bad plays but that was like all of us (Friday night),” Battles said.
Smith was the workhorse for the Tigers in the backfield, finishing with 55 rushing yards and the touchdown on 15 carries. Tallassee had four running backs split the carries but Smith was the only one to receive more than five touches.
“I thought he did a good job for his first start,” Battles said. “Our offensive line blocked really well at times but I thought he did what he was supposed to do.”
Tallassee finished with negative-18 yards rushing due to losing 36 yards on five sacks. Catholic recorded 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and held the visitors to just 51 yards of total offense.