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Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Elmore County’s Sean Darnell (7) is tackled by Tallassee’s Mason Bell (41) and Ziggy Holloway.

After missing two crucial weeks of region play due to COVID-19, Tallassee was already looking at a shortened season. Now with last week’s loss to Clay Central, the Tigers’ year was cut even more with the postseason out of the picture.

Tallassee was set to be back this week for a full week of practice and a game but its scheduled opponent Carroll was forced to cancel, leaving the Tigers in danger of not getting a final game in. Even though Tallassee will get a forfeit win from that game and finish the season with a 3-7 record, the Tigers tried their best to get one more game in for their players. After one replacement opponent fell through Monday, the Tigers finally found a team willing to make the trip with Bullock County coming to Tallassee on Friday night for homecoming. 

“It’s very important,” Tallassee coach Mike Battles said. “We have already had two games taken away and those seniors deserve to play as many as they can. We still haven’t had homecoming and all those things that go on with a high school experience. These kids should have a chance to do that.”

Tallassee got started on its preparation for Geneva County, the first replacement opponent, by watching some film over the weekend. However, that went out the window when the Tigers had to get Bullock County on the schedule but they still do not want to change how they get ready before Friday’s game.

“We aren’t changing anything we do,” Battles said. “We’re going to continue to work. We’ll approach this the same way we always do. It’s important to get out and have some success.”

The game will also be the season finale for the Hornets as they are coming off a loss to Alabama Christian, which put them on the short end of a three-way tiebreaker and denied them of a playoff spot. Tallassee has never lost in six previous meetings with Bullock County but the Tigers are still looking to have a top performance and grab a win even in a game that won’t be counted on the season record.

“We’re going to have to play well and we haven’t done that a lot this year,” Battles said. “A lot of what we will do Friday night will depend on the kids. If they want to continue to work hard and want to go out and win a ball game, we’re going to have a good week.”

While there is still a focus on winning, Battles said there will also be a priority on getting the program’s seniors as many touches as possible and plenty of time on the field.

“There’s going to be emphasis to get them in the game,” Battles said. “We want to try to play everybody. Normally in a 10-season game, one way or the other, you have the opportunity to play a lot of guys. We haven’t had that this year. We want to get as many people involved so everyone can get that experience.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.