The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 29, 2013

One win away

Tanner poised for another 2A state title berth

By Jonathan Deal
jonathan@athensnews-courier.com

— If the Tanner Rattlers were a college football team, they would most closely resemble the Alabama Crimson Tide. As absurd as the analogy may sound, there is more truth to it than not.

Tanner has dominated the 2A football landscape the same was Alabama has dominated College football over the past several years. Both teams have played in consecutive championships, losing just one game in two football seasons.

Alabama has two titles during that time while Tanner has just one championship, but both are on the verge of another. Tanner can clinch a berth in a third straight title game the same way Alabama can in the SEC with a win over Auburn Saturday.

The similarities go on and on, but one of the main reasons for the comparison is how the teams reached this point. Alabama and Tanner have both won 11 consecutive games this season.

They both have looked unconvincing at times, but always seem to leave with a “W”. The same way Alabama finds a way to win, Tanner too, just seems to will itself to victory.

Last season’s playoff run was a cakewalk for Tanner, posting shutouts in through the first three rounds of the playoffs.

This season? Tanner has trailed in each of the first three playoff games over the past three weeks. But each week, the Rattlers find a way to win in the fourth quarter. Against North Sand Mountain, Tanner trailed 17-6 entering the fourth quarter only to score 21 unanswered in the final quarter.

Last week at Montgomery Academy, Tanner held off a fierce from the home team to pull away for its eighth consecutive playoff victory.

Friday’s game at Fyffe could be Tanner’s biggest test yet. The Devils defeated No. 2 ranked Lanett 31-6 last week. Led by a trio of running backs, Fyffe makes few mistakes on offense and leans on its defense to win games in the fourth quarter.

Tanner has had tough test in the semifinals the past two seasons, but like this year, the Rattlers always seem to find their way to the state title game.

It just so happens, that game will be played in Bryant-Denny Stadium this season.