215-lb Zavion Carr is considered the short-distance back in the loaded Tallassee running back room. Blasting up the sideline for an 83-yard touchdown to seal the game in the 4th quarter, Carr did anything but run short distance.
“I saw Marciano was blocking the dude; I was gonna go inside but I just decided to go outside and try to beat the man, and when I got outside, I just took off and kept running,” Carr said on the sidelines immediately following the touchdown.
Tallassee inched ever closer to a sniff at the 5A region 4 championship after thrashing divisional rival Beauregard 35-7 in Opelika on Friday night.
Tallassee’s win marks a significant notch in the Mike Battles era, as the team claimed its first road win against Beauregard since Battles took over in 2012.
“I told them, the last time that Tallassee beat Beauregard in Beauregard, this bunch was in kindergarten,” Battles said. “We finally got the job done.”
Tallassee got out to a wicked fast start in Opelika, scoring touchdowns on its first three drives while holding Beauregard to seven points in the first half.
After nonchalantly marching up the field with little to no crowd noise to deter the Tiger’s momentum, Carr snatched the snap under center in the wildcat formation and plowed into the endzone five yards out for Tallassee’s first score of the night.
Hornet Stadium had almost as many, if not more, Tallassee fans than it did Hornet fans.
Beauregard’s offense was riddled with overthrows and three-and-outs as the Hornet’s quarterback, Brayden Blackmon, threw for just under 140 yards. 60 of those came on a one-on-one deep ball that the Hornet receiver snagged midair and took it the house for Beauregard’s only score of the night.
Beauregard cut the lead to 14-7 and seemed to take the life out Tallassee, who had the Hornet offense backed up to a third-and-10 before the streaking touchdown toss.
Tallassee’s offense, already two-for-two on the night in touchdowns, wasn’t about to let the Hornets back into the game. Beauregard had to re-kick after an offsides penalty on the ensuing kickoff and landed the ball at the 50-yard line on the second go-around, a gift-wrapped present for the hot Tiger offense. After a short trip to the red zone, senior running back Marciano Smith muscled his way into the endzone to put the Tigers up 21-7. A lead that Tallassee and Battles would never look back from.
“We kinda stalled there in the second half on a few drives but I was proud of the way we came out,” Battles said. “You know, that’s two weeks in a row that we’ve come out and scored the opening drive.”
Beauregard might have gotten back in the game midway through the 2nd half with a deep ball to CJ Reese, but a Tallassee defender caught his heels after the catch and saved a potential long touchdown throw. The Hornet’s once-promising drive would stall after a few mediocre rush attempts and eventually ended on a missed field goal.
Plagued by an ever-growing scoring deficit and missed easy completions, the home Hornets couldn’t get the ground game going and ended the game with just 127 rushing yards.
Tallassee had 249.
“It’s a big region game, now we gotta get ready for the next one at Talladega,” Battles said. “We’re gonna play three on the road so we gotta get these little things up, we gotta keep improving. We can’t think we’re good enough right now, we gotta keep improving.”
“This is a big win. We 2-1 in the region, come back and beat Holtville, we racing for the region championship,” Carr said.