Talladega’s defense looked extremely confident in the first quarter, making solid tackles and keeping Briarwood's offensive line on its heels. With 9:25 remaining in the opening quarter, the Tigers punted the ball and Richard Williams, on special teams for the Tigers, made an athletic play causing a fumble and bringing them inside the red zone.
On third down and 13, Briarwood’s defense protected their end zone by causing a Talladega fumble, which slowed their momentum. After a scoreless first stanza, Talladega was working from inside their 10 yard line when a mishandled pitch sent the ball into the end zone. A Briarwood defender seized the ball in the end zone to give the visiting Lions their first points of the night. The Lions converted the two-point play to take an 8-0 advantage at halftime.
The Tigers’ defense was extremely effective in the first half.
“The defense played the best game they’ve played all year,” head coach Robert Herring said. “They played good enough to win. Offensively, we just didn’t help them. It should have been 0-0 at the half. We got the ball at the 10 or 12-yard line, we ran a basic toss sweep and had the backs change from quarterback to tailback and fumbled the ball into the end zone. They got it and scored, went for two and got it. That’s how it was 8-0 at halftime. We had chances down there offensively. We got down to the 20-yard line and we sit there and fumble the ball again and gave it back to them. We had a chance to at least kick a field goal to make it 8-3 going into the half.”
At the beginning of the second half, the Talladega defense had multiple pass interference calls that kept Briarwood’s drive alive and moving downfield.
The Lions quarterback Walker Lott threw a 20-yard pass with precision to wide receiver Richard Woods in the end zone, making the score 16-0.
Talladega running back Laderick Stamps was aggressive throughout the game, gaining positive yards. However, every time the Tigers’ offense would gain momentum, penalties or a fumble would occur to give possession to the Lions.
“We came back out in the second half and the defense played as good as they could play,” Herring said. “We just turned the ball over and put them in bad situations in the second half.”
Late in the 3rd quarter, the Lions settled down and began to establish their running game. With 55 seconds left in the third period, Lott threw his second touchdown to wide receiver Jerald Victor, making the final score 23-0.
“These kids are fighting,” Herring said. “It was 8-0 at the half. It was 16-0 at the end of the third. They scored again in the fourth to make it 23-0, but the kids fought. You’ve got to take your hat off to those kids. They’re relentless; they’re giving us everything they’ve got and that’s all we can ask for.”
Talladega moves to 2-4 on the season. The Tigers travel to take on region foe Shelby County Friday.