“I coached with my brother for a year at Shelby County and we had a great run,” Herring said. “When we were there, they went to the playoffs and made it to the second round. I still know just about every coach on that staff. They’re still there. I still talk to them on the phone, talked to one of them last night. We just both think it’s going to be a good game. We both know we’re not the Homewoods of this region, or the Briarwoods, but we’re going to come out there—they’re team plays hard too and they don’t stop and that’s what we’re hoping it’s going to be. We know it’s going to come down to the fourth quarter and who doesn’t make mistakes. If we can go mistake-free on offense, we’ve got a chance to win that thing.”
The Tigers are coming off a tough 23-0 loss to Briarwood.
“Our guys played good,” Herring said. “Defensively, we played as good as we could play. Usually you win if you play as good as we played; we had a couple of turnovers that cost us. Our guys came back this week and had a hard week of practice.”
Despite the Wildcats being 1-5, Herring believes Shelby County will prove to be a challenge.
“They had a good game last week,” Herring said. “They won 24-21. Shelby County is good. They’ve got two or three backs that can break it at any time. They’ve got a quarterback that can throw it and he can run it. Offensively, they can put you in a bind with your defense because they can do so much stuff. We’re just trying to get out there and play with them and win this ball game. It would be big for us; it would be big for them.”
Talladega has struggled to put points on the scoreboard this season. Shelby County has been aggressive on defense, so Talladega will need their offensive playmakers to step up this week.
“They run an odd-man set,” Herring said of Shelby County. “They run a 3-4 in certain sets. Sometimes if you go with a tight end, they’ll go to a 4-4 look. They don’t mind locking up man and blitzing people. So, we’ll have to have some big plays. The quarterback will have to hit receivers this week. Last week, we had a couple of them open and there just wasn’t much offered—we couldn’t get the ball to them or they would bat the ball down. We’ve got to do something though; we’ve got to score to help our defense out this week.”
Herring has been most encouraged by the attitude demonstrated by his players.
“The resiliency of our guys—they keep fighting every week,” Herring said. “A lot of teams, when you’ve only got two wins on the year at game six, it’s about time to fold in. These guys out here and we’re having fun and we’re building. We’ve told these guys ‘Everything we do for this year is building for next year.’ These seniors are laying the foundation for us and we’re proud of them.”
In Herring’s eyes, his team has steadily improved over the course of the season. A region win against Shelby County would a big boost of momentum for the team in the final weeks of the season.
“It’s been a fun week of practice getting ready for Shelby County,” Herring said. “We’re getting better week by week and that’s all we can ask these kids to do. Wins are going to come, but right now the thing is our kids are getting better, they’re staying in that weight room, and they’re not missing practice. We want this to be a big week for us. I’m talking about a huge win if we can beat Shelby.”
Talladega plays at Shelby County Friday at 7 p.m.