“That was a big honor truly for our guys,” head coach Robert Herring said. “They loved it; you heard them talking about it at school today. It’s been a long time since that’s happened. We’re just proud of the guys and how they’re working right now and trying to get better every week. They’ve bought into it. Like I said, it’s been a while since we’ve beat them. After the game Friday night, everybody was tickled to death. This week, teachers talked about it. We’re just trying to build on that win.”
As Herring noted, it was the first win against John Carroll for his senior players, as the Tigers last beat the Cavaliers in 2007.
“We don’t have that many seniors, but they played for them; this was for the seniors,” Herring said after the win Friday.
The Tigers have a 2-1 overall record with a 1-1 record in regional play.
Tonight they travel to Clanton to face regional opponent the Chilton County Tigers.
“It’s going to be another tough game,” Herring said.
“All the games we play are probably going to come down to the fourth quarter. I just hope we’ve got enough left in the tank in the fourth quarter to pull it out.”
Chilton County won last year’s contest 30-0. The Tigers enter this year’s contest with a 1-2 overall record with a 1-1 regional record.
Herring said the challenge with Chilton County rests in their physical brand of football.
“They just play good physical football,” Herring said.
“They sit right there and they run it right at you, and then they do a little play action pass. They’ve got two or three big receivers, about 6-3 or 6-4. They just usually out jump people and make plays.”
The Tigers of Chilton County are a difficult team to play on the road. They finished last season 6-0 at home including a 33-27 playoff win against Saraland. Chilton County fell earlier this season at home to Homewood, the same team that won class 5A region 4 with a 7-0 record in region play. Herring said a road win would be huge.
“If we can pull this game off, you look ahead and the rest of them are going to be pretty tough, but this right here would be big for the program and send us back in there to where we may be able to slip in there and get that fourth seed,” he said.
The Tigers had a demanding week of practice, showing strong focus.
“We’ve had a great physical week of practice and we needed to just because of what Chilton does,” Herring said. “Like I said, they run the ball right at you. Monday and Tuesday were real good, physical days for us, especially on defense. They get in so many different sets and formations. We’ve got to line up right to have a chance to win.”
Herring has stressed to his offense the importance of not turning the ball over.
“Offensively, we can’t turn the ball over,” he said.
“We just can’t. We’re not at a point to where we can have two or three turnovers and expect to win. We can’t have stupid penalties.”
Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and getting another stellar performance from the defense is one of the main keys to coming away with a win.
The defense is currently the 15th-ranked defense in class 5A in scoring defense, allowing a stingy 13.7 points per game.
“Our offensive line is getting better week by week,” Herring said. “Our defense has come along. The defense just played as good as you can play against John Carroll. Hopefully, we can do it again this week.”
Talladega plays at Chilton County tonight at 7 p.m.