MIDNIGHT MADNESS: Tallassee hits the field early for practice

Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Coach Mike Battles directs his team to position drills at the team’s midnight practice on Monday.

After taking a week off to celebrate Independence Day, the Tallassee football team was supposed to be back on the field to continue its summer workout period this week but coach Mike Battles had to deliver the news of having to postpone the return early Monday morning. The Tigers made the decision to cancel this week of practice after learning one of their players tested positive for COVID-19..

“We were made aware that one of our players had tested positive,” Battles said. “When we became aware of that, we decided to take this week too because it would give us that time we need to make sure everyone is quarantined. No one can give you a straight answer on what to do but we are trying to do what is the safest for our athletes and safest for our individuals. It’s still a work in progress.”

Battles said the decision to cancel football workouts this week was made on an internal level with the administration. He also said they took a look at how other programs have handled a positive test this summer and they made their plans look similar to what has worked for others.

Tallassee is still planning on returning for workouts Monday, pending any other setbacks within the program. With the start of fall practice less than three weeks away, the Tigers know missing out on a week of summer workouts could cause some complications to the season but that is not their focus right now.

“We haven’t missed out on a week of practice in my 25 years of coaching but we are also going through something we have never seen in those 25 years,” Battles said. “Do I want to miss out on three more days, no, but the most important thing is to make sure everyone can stay safe. We want to practice and get better but the No. 1 thought process is keeping them safe.”

Battles believes if the Tigers can start back Monday, the team will have enough time to make up for the lost time in the six weeks leading up to the first game. He said he would rather miss out on a week now rather than risk missing out on two more weeks closer to the season.

“We’re still going to have plenty of time to get ready,” Battles said. “Our kids are going to work this week whether it’s together or apart. We can make up that time lost. We’re going to prepare the best we can every day so if there is a setback, we are ahead where we should be.”

Before the holiday break, Tallassee got in eight days of summer training and Battles was pleased with what he saw. The Tigers got to work putting in schemes and fronts on defense while working on some pass scale and special teams.

“We were trying to do as much as we could within reason while still following the guidelines,” Battles said. “I think they went awesome. The kids came back in pretty good shape. We were able to get something done and have some normalcy."

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.