Duncan scores late touchdown to lead Talladega past TC Central
By LAVONTE YOUNG, Home sports editor | Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2015 12:15 am
Ashton Duncan scored the game-winning touchdown and lifted Talladega past TC Central 14-6 in high school football Friday night at Mary Dumas Stadium.
“That was a big win for our guys,” Talladega head coach Robert Herring said. “Coach (Chris) Mahand and them do a great job. It was a hard-fought game both ways, and it was a lot of licks passed both ways.
“Nobody quit until the end, and that is what we expect from Coach Mahand and his group. Just like last year and the year before last, it is going to be a close ballgame. He has a lot of good athletes over there, and I promise you, they are going to be a playoff team for sure.
“We have to improve; we killed ourselves with fumbles and turnovers. We have to correct that if we want to beat good teams.”
With 5:37 left, Talladega took over at TC Central’s 35-yard line.
Duncan connected with JeCoyous Cunningham for a 13-yard gain to the Fighting Tigers’ 23. Bruce Garrett gained 14-yards on to set up first down-and-goal at the TC Central 2.
An offside penalty on TC Central put the ball right at the goal line for Talladega. Duncan scored on the next play to put the Tigers ahead 12-6 with 1:45 left to go. Garrett converted the two-point conversion to increase the lead to 14-6.
“We needed it,” Duncan said. “I was able to step up and score a touchdown. Bruce Garrett was able to get an interception, and we were able to come out with the win.”
TC Central had one final chance to make a comeback, but Darrell Maple’s pass was intercepted by Garrett to seal the win for Talladega. The Fighting Tigers turned the ball over four times and had several big plays negated by penalties.
“It was a tough game,” Mahand said. “We had a lot of calls that didn’t go our way, but we also had several turnovers that we can’t have. We had some mistakes early that we can’t afford to make and we have to correct in practice.
“We had a couple kids cramp up … and that is on me. I guess I didn’t have them conditioned enough, and being the head coach, that falls on my shoulders. We need to condition more to see if we can get into better shape.”
Miscues plagued both teams in the first half. Talladega and TC Central turned the ball over three times apiece.
Talladega was able to capitalize off a Fighting Tiger turnover early in the first quarter. TC Central’s LaDarion Benjamin was stripped by Talladega’s Jae-Lyn Russ at the Fighting Tigers’ 21. Jermontez Cunningham recovered to fumble for Talladega.
Duncan capped off a six-play, 21-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 3:22 left in the opening stanza.
Russ also forced two more fumbles deep in TC Central territory in the first half, but the Fighting Tigers held Talladega out of the end zone both times.
The Fighting Tigers were able to tie the game at 6-all with 3:50 left in the third quarter. Maple capped off a 10-play, 60 yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Both teams will return to action Sept.4.
Talladega will travel to take on region foe Tallassee, and TC Central will travel to Anniston to open region play against Donoho.