Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Talladega quarterback Nigel Scales is a junior. He was incorrectly listed as a senior in a previous version.
LEEDS — Shannon Felder’s message after Friday night’s 28-20 victory at Homer Smiles Field was simple.
“We came here to win,” the Talladega head coach said after the game. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Felder’s Tigers held on by their fingernails, denying Leeds on a fourth down at the Talladega 13-yard line with 23 seconds left.
“I’m happy with our guys, they way we played and the way we closed it out,” Felder said.
Talladega (4-2, 3-1) got another monster effort from junior quarterback Nigel Scales, who amassed 301 total yards and accounted for two touchdowns. His most impressive stat: 221 passing yards on only nine completions, much of it outside the pocket.
“He’s (Scales) done a tremendous job, continued to improve,” Felder said.
With Leeds holding a 13-7 advantage, Scales completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Jadis Lee to give Talladega the lead on the first play of the second quarter. Then, at the outset of the third, Scales escaped the pocket and scrambled 57 yards for another TD. A 49-yard completion on the next possession set up a 1-yard score by Larry Calhoun to put the Tigers in command.
Still, the game came into doubt late.
After a mishandled punt snap at midfield, Leeds (1-4, 1-2) took over with 3:48 remaining, finally scoring when Omar Conley fought his way into the end zone with 1:30 to go.
Conley would finish with 197 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
After an offsides penalty nullified Leeds’ first onsides kick, Conley snatched the second one out of the air at midfield.
Three plays later, Leeds was inside the Talladega 20. The drive stalled, however, and the Green Wave faced fourth-and-2 from inside the Tiger 15.
“We wanted to pick up the fourth down, clock it, then take a shot,” Leeds head coach Jerry Hood said.
Leeds’ Rametrious Yelverton was denied the first down by inches, however, and Talladega kneeled out the clock from there.
Three to know
-- Talladega’s defense controlled much of the action, limiting Leeds to 13 points on two long plays in the first quarter. The Tigers also sacked Leeds quarterbacks five times.
-- Lee led the Tigers on the ground with 86 yards. D’Corian Smith scored the Tigers’ first touchdown on a 10-yard run.
-- Leeds’ Jakobi Hunter was significant in his absence Friday. After breaking a 57-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, Hunter exited the game with an injury and did not return. Sophomore Christian Douglas shouldered much of the rushing load in his absence, with 64 total yards.
-- Felder: “We got a week off. Get a chance to get some guys a little bit more treatment, a little more opportunity to get some other guys ready to play. We’ll go back and work on a lot of fundamentals.”
-- Hood: “The overriding theme is how much guts these guys showed tonight, how fun football was for them tonight. The loss hurts me, hurts them, but I am dang proud of them.”
-- Talladega will take next week off before hosting Holtville on Oct. 18. Leeds travels to Holtville next Friday.