“Whenever they get the opportunity to play a county rival, practice is going to go well,“ Talladega head coach Chris Mahand said. “The season didn’t turn out as well as the players, the coaching staff or anyone in the school wanted, but we still have improved our win total over last year. To get another win, that will be the most wins since 1995, and that will be definitely a plus for the seniors that have worked hard and stood through the test of time these four years.”
Talladega (3-6) lost to Homewood last week, 56-0,which ended their hopes of ending the season going .500 in the standings.
Munford (6-3), on the other hand, earned their first playoff berth since the 2005 season with a win over Anniston. The Lions are the third seed in Class 4A, Region 5.
The Lions enter tonight’s game looking to extend their winning streak to three games and to go into the postseason with momentum.
“Munford is definitely a well-coached team,” Mahand said. “They are doing an outstanding job over there at Munford. They have some athletic kids that are playing really well. They have the opportunity to go to the playoffs and they are excited about that.
“Munford is a very sound team and they are playing good ball. It is not going to be an easy task to get this fourth win. They are coming in here wanting to go in the playoffs on a high note. We want to win to end the season on a positive note going into next season. It is going to be a hard task to get that fourth win.”
Munford quarterback Monteo Garrett’s ability to make things happen with his arm and his legs strikes fear into opposing teams’ coaches. The Anniston Bulldogs saw what the junior was capable of, as he rushed for 238 yards with a score last week. He also threw for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
“He is definitely an outstanding athlete,” Mahand said. “He controls their offense. He runs the ball well and he throws the ball well. He is an exceptional athlete that is just a junior and he gives defensive coordinators nightmares. He is one of the better athletes that I’ve seen in Talladega since I have been here. It is going to be a task to try to hem up and control him (tonight).”
Mahand knows his defense has to keep Garrett from taking off to the outside running the football to have a chance to beat Munford.
“We are going to have to limit the yards he gets when he runs the ball,” Mahand said. “He is extremely good when he runs the ball. He throws the ball well, but he is extremely dangerous when he runs the ball. We are going to have to try to keep him bottled up in the pocket to have a good chance to win the game.
“Defensively, they are really gritty. They don’t stop until the whistle blows. They get 11 people around the football. Offensively, we are going to have to maintain our blocks until the whistle blows, because they are going to keep running to the football until it blows. They gang tackle well. We are definitely going to have to do our job to come away with a victory.”
Munford head coach Will Wagnon was unavailable for comment at press time.
Contact LaVonte Young at lyoung@dailyhome. Follow him on Twitter @LYoung_DHSport.