Miller crushes Dadeville in first round win
By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
Entering Friday night's first-round game of the Class 3A state playoffs, the 9-1 and seventh-ranked Dadeville Tigers most likely had the mindset of any predator - a swift, vicious mauling of yet another victim.
However, the Tigers of T.R. Miller proved to be the big cat of this particular confrontation. Prowling and assessing their opponent before moving in for the kill, Miller turned Dadeville from predator into prey by thoroughly dominating the hosts in a 35-0 win.
The Tigers took control in the opening quarter by moving the ball down the field with precision for a 7-0 lead, and then added two more touchdowns in the second quarter for a 21-0 halftime advantage. A couple more scores in the third quarter accounted for the 35-0 final.
As the Miller offense moved the ball almost at will the entire contest, the defensive unit completely disrupted Dadeville's offensive efforts for four quarters. Not once during the game did Dadeville cross midfield and was limited to only two first downs and 17 total yards by the stout Tiger defense.
Miller head coach Jamie Riggs said the impressive win was a reflection of his team being ready to play.
The Tigers controlled the ball almost the entire first quarter as they moved down the field on their initial possession for a touchdown. Antawn Gomez was the workhorse from the tailback position throughout the 80-yard drive, darting his way for consistent gains through holes opened by the Tigers' offensive line. The drive was culminated with a 1-yard Brad Lannom quarterback sneak before Joseph Turner booted the PAT through the uprights to give Miller a 7-0 lead with 3:53 remaining in the first quarter.
On their first possession of the second quarter, the Tigers took advantage of excellent field position by cashing in another scoring opportunity.
Starting from the Dadeville 25-yard after receiving the punt, a first down run by Tim Atcher gained seven yards. Atcher got the call again as he ran for four more yards to the 14-yard line. Consecutive carries by Michael Jones moved the football down to the 2-yard line. Jones took the handoff on an off-tackle play with his next carry across the goal line. Turner nailed the PAT to make the score 14-0 with just over nine minutes left before the half.
Dadeville received the ensuing kickoff and began their next possession from the 31-yard line. After a first down run netted an 11-yard gain, the Tigers' defense forced a punt after allowing only a single yard on the next three snaps.
Miller put the ball in play from their 35-yard line following the punt and embarked on another scoring jaunt that broke the game wide open.
Gomez gained two yards on first down before a Lannom to Quentin Galloway swing pass was good for a 12-yard gain to the Miller 49-yard line. Two plays later, another Lannom aerial strike to Brent Salter along the right sideline moved the ball to the Dadeville 35-yard line. A Jones run up the middle on the following play gained 10 before Lannom gained eight on a quarterback keeper to the 17-yard line. On the next snap, Atcher took the handoff on a draw play and covered the remaining yardage needed for the touchdown, running over a Dadeville defender as he crossed the goal line. Turner closed out the first half scoring at 21-0 after splitting the uprights with his PAT.
Dadeville received the kickoff to begin the second half and was forced to punt after three plays.
Beginning from the Miller 29-yard line after receiving the punt, the Tigers' offense steadily moved down the field to another score.
Gomez gained six yards on a toss sweep to the left and then Galloway took it up the middle for a 10-yard gain. Jones, Gomez and Skylar Fountain took turns eating-up yardage on the ground, moving the ball to the Dadeville 27-yard line. From that point, a Lannom to Trent Davidson pass connection across the middle covered 16 yards. After a couple of Fountain runs placed the ball on the 10-yard line, Lannom rifled a strike across the middle to James Martin for the touchdown. Turner's PAT gave Miller a 28-0 lead with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.
After Dadeville put the ball in play from the 35-yard line following the kickoff, it took the Tigers' defense only one play to give its offense another golden opportunity. A first down Dadeville pass attempt was intercepted by Jones and returned to the 31-yard line, setting the stage for the Tigers' final touchdown.
Two consecutive Atcher carries moved the football to the Dadeville 19-yard line. After a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty on the Tigers, a Jones run gained nine yards and was followed by an Atcher run to the 12-yard line. Jones finished the drive on the next play by taking the handoff off left tackle and veering untouched into the end zone. Turner was good with the PAT to end the scoring at 35-0.
With the victory, Miller raised its season record to 7-3 and will host Tarrant (10-1), a 49-6 winner over St. Clair County, in next week's second-round playoff game.