That’s how long it’s been since Tanner’s defense allowed an opposing team to score. A streak that goes back to Oct. 26 in a 67-12 win at Phil Campbell. That was during the regular season when Tanner was steamrolling through its schedule, outscoring region foes 392-65.
But no one expected Tanner to do that during the playoffs, right?
In three playoff games this month, Tanner has yet to be challenged. The Rattlers have not allowed a point during the Class 2A playoffs, winning by an average score of 39-0.
“We could have had a few more shutouts during the season, but I never thought we would do it like this in the playoffs,” senior linebacker Dexter Douglas said. “Last year, we had a lot more attitude to us. We expect good things to happen now, so I guess that’s why we don’t make a big deal when we make a big play.”
At this stage last season, that Tanner team was allowing a measly 10 points per game. The 2011 Rattlers team made it to the schools first state championship appearance and will go down as one of the best in school history. Entering this season, few thought this year’s version could be even better.
The players are the same for the most part, the scheme is the same, but something is different. Douglas thinks he knows what’s different about the 2012 version.
“Everybody wants to play defense on our team,” Douglas said. “Everybody likes to hit. We take pride in our physicality. We want to get to the ball and make the hit. We all want to make big plays. It’s kind of like we’re competing with each other. It’s a good atmosphere to have other guys around you that want the same things that you do.”
Playing solid, sound defense has become contagious among the defensive players. And so have the shutouts and wins. Tanner currently holds the state record for consecutive regular-season wins, region wins and is second in the state for consecutive wins on its home soil.
While it’s obvious talent has a lot to do with the success, this is a well-coached Tanner team. Standing on the sidelines, coaches are constantly communicating with the defense calling out tendencies from opposing offenses.
“We watch as much film as possible and pick up so many things,” senior defensive lineman Kyle Shoulders said. “It’s helpful to have something to look for to know when something might be coming. We’re out there telling each other what to look out for.”
Shoulders is a big part of Tanner’s success. The 6-foot, 230-pound Shoulders is well-known among Tanner’s opponents. If not before the game, certainly after.
“He deserves a lot of attention on the line,” Douglas said about his teammate. “They’re more worried about him than they are us and it frees us up to make plays. As long as he does what he’s supposed to do, then we’re going to be able to make tackles.
“The front four of our defensive line is our strong point. They’re always making plays. I don’t see too many people blocking (Kyle). They tried to double-team him, but he usually blows both of them up.”
Tanner’s opponent Friday, Reeltown, will be well aware of Shoulder’s ability. The Rattlers beat Reeltown last year in the second round of the playoffs. In 2010, Reeltown beat Tanner 34-0 in the second round.
Reeltown will be full of confidence, carrying a 12-game win streak into the game with an offense averaging 32 points per game. But that won’t scare Tanner. Tanner’s last two opponents averaged more than 40 points per game. Ask Walter Wellborn and Fultondale what they think of this Rattler defense.
- Local News 2
Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps
After watching his dad pull for the past 20 years, Clay finally got his chance. Although he has pulled multiple times over the years, this will be the first year to compete for points in the Mid-South Pullers Association.
North win streak improves to 12
The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.
Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep
East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.
Davidson helps North tie
She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.
Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game
Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.
Strong local presence at state All-Star Week
Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.
Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide
A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.
State softball tournament begins in Athens today
The three-day, double-elimination event begins at 6 tonight at the Athens Sportsplex.
Run with goats Saturday
Belle Chevre Creamery will hosts the first annual ‘Running with the Goats’ Saturday in downtown Elkmont. The event will feature a 10K, 5K and fun run on the certified Rails to Trails course.
- Athens softball team wins state
- More Local News 2 Headlines
- Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps