The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Homepage

December 5, 2013

T-TOWN SHOWDOWN

No. 1 Tanner takes on Washington County in Friday's 2A finals

— A year ago Kyle Shoulders strapped on his battered green helmet for the last time and helped lead Tanner to a redemptive 28-14 win against Washington County in the Class 2A championship game.

Fast-forward to today and Shoulders, now a freshman on a football scholarship at Miles College in Birmingham, is squeezing in a morning class before taking Interstate 20/59 to Tuscaloosa for today’s 2A title rematch between No. 1 Tanner and No. 3 Washington County.

Shoulders, a starting linebacker and fullback on the 2012 champion team, will be among the convoy of fans making their way to the University of Alabama campus for the second time in three years after Tanner lost to Elba in the 2011 finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Today’s kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Bryant-Denny. Visit http://www.fox54.com for television coverage listings or tune to My8 WAMY-TV if carried by your cable system.

“The first actual game I went to this season, it was hard and it felt really awkward sitting in the stands,” said Shoulders on Thursday after class. “I kept coming to more games and started evolving into the fan role.

“I’m a proud Rattler now, and it feels good to be out there watching the team doing the same thing we did last year.”

Resilient Rattlers

The Rattlers (12-1) were favored to win the championship last year but enter today’s game against the Bulldogs (13-1) as somewhat of an underdog, with some pundits predicting a Tanner loss for a program that has won 51 of 54 games since 2010 and three North Division titles.

Tanner’s lone loss this season came in Week 1 against defending Class 3A champion Madison Academy, which claimed its second consecutive state title in Thursday’s 31-14 win against Leeds.

Last year a 14-0 Tanner team defeated Sand Rock, Walter Welborn, Fultondale, Reeltown and Washington County by a scoring margin of 180 to 28 points.

This year’s squad has walked a postseason tightrope, both thrilling and worrying a fan base so dedicated that one Tanner teacher is missing the game today because she said her bad-luck mojo could negatively affect the outcome.

In the first four rounds, Tanner has beaten Woodland, North Sand Mountain, Montgomery Academy and Fyffe by a margin of 110-67, with all four requiring come-from-behind victories by the resilient Rattlers.

For Shoulders, the Tanner’s winning mentality seems to rev into high gear when facing adversity.

“I would always say in the back of my mind or turn to someone and say, ‘Something miraculous is going to happen and give us momentum,’” he said. “And then something would happen — it’s the same thing with (those) Auburn Tigers.

“Something comes out of (Tanner) when they know they can lose — in the last minutes they’re at their best. They just turn into a different team to me.”

Text Only
Top Local News

Today's Local Feature

State and Nation
Local Sports

Sports
Lifestyles
Calendar of Events
  • Limestone Ledger 4/18/14

    FRIDAY
    Fish fry

    The Limestone NAACP annual fish fry is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today at Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park, 814 Westview Ave. in Athens. Cost is $8 a plate. Contact: Greg Orr 256-654-0486.

    April 18, 2014

  • Church Bulletin 4/18/14
Obituaries
Weather Radar
Poll

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Chocolate bunnies
Marshmallow chicks
Chocolate eggs with filling
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Business Marquee
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.