Talladega takes on rival Sylacauga tonight
by LAVONTE YOUNG
The Talladega Tigers travel on their county/region foes the Sylacauga Aggies at Legion Stadium tonight. The match up between the rivals is being televised statewide on WABM 68. Talladega head coach Chris Mahand said his team is fired up about playing Sylacauga.

“It is definitely a big game, it is a county rivalry,” Mahand said. “Our kids always get excited when we play people like: TC, Sylacauga, and Munford. When you have those guys on the schedule, the guys get excited to play those guys. Practice has gone well this week since it is a short week. You can’t get a lot of stuff in, because the week is so short. For the short week practice has gone pretty well.”

The Tigers (3-4,2-3) defeated Shelby County 41-12 on homecoming to end a four game skid. Mahand said the win gave his team confidence,

“It was a big win,” Mahand said. “It was definitely a confidence builder, which is something that the kids needed and I am glad they got it. We have played four really good football teams in a row in: John Carroll, Sylacauga, Chilton County and Briarwood. We have lost to four really good football teams, so the win on homecoming was really good for the guys. It was really big and they needed that.”

The Aggies (5-2,3-2) enter tonight’s game trying to end a two game losing streak and they are trying to clinch a playoff berth. The Aggies have been banged up the last few weeks and it is uncertain if they will get their injured players back for tonight’s game.

“Sylacauga is a very solid team and they have always been,” Mahand said. “Matt (Griffith) has done an outstanding job with the guys. They are a solid team. They are never flashy, they are just going to play good hard nose football and be very good at what they do. It is not a situation where you don’t know where are going to line up in defensive. You are going to know where they are going to line up defensively and offensively. That is what solid teams do; they are going to line up and force you to stop them. If you don’t stop them you are not going to win the game, because they are not going to be flashy or try to trick you. They are going to line up and play really solid football. That is what Matt does and has made him successful since he has been there.”

Mahand said his team is approaching tonight’s game like it just another game. He said he doesn’t want his team to focus on being on TV or the distraction that comes along with it.

“We try to keep the boys even keel,” Mahand said. “We try not to put so much emphasis on that the game is on TV. We don’t put the emphasis on it being a county rival. We try to prepare them like any other game and try to keep them even keel. We have to try not to make early mistakes, because once again we are playing a really solid football team in Sylacauga. If you make some early mistakes they are going to capitalize on it and you may not have the opportunity to make up for them.”

Not turning the football over and playing sound defense are two of the key for the Tigers if they plan to leave Sylacauga with their fourth win of the season.

“We cannot make mistakes,” Mahand. “We have to play the football that we are capable of playing. If we do that we will have the opportunity to win the game.”

The Aggies lead the series 48-35-4. Sylacauga has won the last three meetings including last year’s game 31-7.

Kick off is set for 7 p.m. from Legion Stadium in Sylacauga.

Sylacauga head coach Matt Griffith was not available for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
© 2012