Nov. 23—The Rattlers played 9 games on the season and had lofty goals due to their immense talent.
However, when a smaller team sees players get injured, it can be detrimental to their season.
That was the case for the Tanner Rattlers, who lost 6 starters that played both sides of the ball, according to head coach Oscar Bonds.
While Bonds does not like to make excuses, and believes in the "next man up" mentality, there are realities about a team with a limited roster of players losing 6 starters both ways for long periods of time, if not the season.
"It is significant, especially when they are very, very good players. Our running back (Elinneaus Jackson) got (RB) of the Year in the county, and he didn't play but four or five (full) games, to show you what kind of player he is," Bonds said.
"The injuries really hurt us this season, but, I was proud of a lot of guys finishing out even though the season did not go the way we wanted it to go."
Tanner's offense and defense were rolling before the injuries, averaging over 40 points early on in the year, with a defense that pitched two shutouts during healthier games.
However, the Rattlers fell short of their championship aspirations and had to try their best with the talented players they had left, with some forced to play positions outside of their normalcy.
"I had to move two receivers — one to quarterback and one to runningback — So, we were just winging it. A lot of unfortunate injuries, but I think it helped us with experience," Bonds said.
Bonds also had other positives to take out of this season, such as the fact he is returning many of his key starters, as they were significantly junior-heavy this past season.
"We only had two seniors on offense and one senior starting on defense, so we pretty much have the same team coming back," Bonds said. "You, know, these guys are hungry. They want to redeem themselves after this last season. I think they will be focused and ready."
One facet Bonds says he is working on is getting some of his best players over to one side of the ball, and solely one side of the ball.
This, potentially, could help with sustainability.
"I am trying to make some of these guys one-way players so they can be a little fresher. This should help us out tremendously," he said.
Tanner's wins on the season came versus Mae Jemison 61-46, Tharptown 63-0, Falkville 27-20 and Columbia 66-0. Their five losses on the season were versus Lauderdale County, Sheffield, Hatton, Lexington and Red Bay.
The Falkville win was when the injuries began piling up and taking their toll towards the product on the field.
Nevertheless, Tanner's promise of a bright future will keep the fans coming back next season to see a team go from a junior-heavy group to a very hungry senior-heavy group.
Updates will be provided once preseason football begins again in Limestone County.