This was the first time Talladega won its season opener since 2005 and the largest margin of victory in over a decade.
“It is big for the boys,” Talladega head coach Chris Mahand said. “Like I said before, we definitely made some mistakes that we got to correct. Next week we start region play, so the competition is going to get harder as each week goes by. We have some stuff that we have to work on. We have to improve, we can’t get complacent, because there are some things that we can improve on.”
Talladega took advantage of two of TC Central’s miscues and turned them into 14 points in the first quarter.
The first miscue came on a bobbled snap by the TCC punter, a host of Talladega defenders rushed into the backfield to take the punter down at TC Central 12 yard line. Talladega didn’t waste any time getting points on the board. Ahmad Gooden bulldozed his way into the end zone from 6 yards out. The PAT attempt was good make it 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half.
It didn’t take long for Talladega to light up the score board again. TC Central’s Ramone Russell fumbled on TC Central’s first play of the possession giving Talladega the football at the Fighting Tigers’ 25 yard line.
A delay of game penalty pushed Talladega back to the 30 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Talladega quarterback Zach Spratlin connected with a wide open Domanic Johnson for a 30-yard touchdown. The PAT was good to make it 14-0 with 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
Talladega continued to roll in the second quarter. After forcing the Fighting Tigers to a three and out to start the quarter, Talladega took over the football at the TC Central 42 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Spratlin connected with Justin Kelly for a 29-yard reception. LaDerrick Stamps ran for 10-yards on the next play to set up first and goal from the 3 yard line. Gooden went in for his second touchdown of the game on the next play from 3 yards out to give Talladega a 20-0 lead.
“I am real proud of these boys, they deserved this win,” Mahand said. “They have been working hard all summer. They have been taking beatings for the last three years, so I am glad for the boys more than anything. They deserved it. They have been playing hard for so long and they have been taking so many bumps and bruises. I am happy for them and we have to continue to get better. We can’t get complacent.”
Penalties helped the Fighting Tigers drive the football down the field on their next possession. Talladega committed two 15-yard penalties during the drive. TC Central’s offense longest play of the night came on 19-yard reception from ZeKyle Stockdale to Julius Players. TC Central got down to the Talladega 10-yard line, but Stockdale’s pass was picked off by Devon Morris in the end zone for a touch back.
TC Central head coach Damian Dorsey has been on the job for a little over a month now and he knows that his football team has a lot of work to do.
“As you can tell from the score we have a lot to work on,” Dorsey said. “That is part of football. We have a lot to work on. We are here, we are not going to run away from it. We are going to watch film, come back and get ready for St. Jude. If you dwell on this you will be 0-2. We have go back and get ready for St. Jude.”
Talladega put together their first long drive of the night on their ensuing drive.
Talladega put together an eight-play, 80-yard drive for a touchdown. The key play of the drive was a 26- yard reception by Kelly on third and 25. Spratlin and Kelly hooked up again on the very next play for a 26-yard touchdown. The PAT was good to give Talladega a 27-0 lead.
“We sputtered the first two series and we can’t do that,” Mahand said. “We can’t sputter and make mistakes. We made mistakes that caused some drives to sputter and we can’t do that. We have to continue to get better week-to-week to continue to win.”
The second half was more of the same for TC Central. The Fighting Tigers fumbled the football at their own 5 yard line in their opening drive of the half. Wilson was escorted by his full back around the left end for a 5-yard touchdown. The PAT was good to make it 34-0.
A safety late in the third quarter gave Talladega a 36-0 lead.
Talladega opens region play at home against Ramsay Friday.
TC Central host St.Jude in the region opener Friday.