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Miller eyes state title: Tigers, Indians bring similar philosophies to title game

By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
After enduring a long regular season and the do-or-die pressure associated with the playoffs, the T.R. Miller Tigers are still standing strong and will play Colbert County this Saturday for the Class 3A state championship.
In getting to the championship game, the Tigers have been on an interesting journey through the season. Beginning the season with the top 3A ranking, Miller fell out of the top 10 after suffering three losses over the course of the regular season. However, with a 6-3 overall mark and 4-2 regional record, the Tigers fared well enough to qualify for postseason play.
Since entering the playoffs, Miller (10-3) has shifted into another gear. The opening two rounds saw the Tigers thoroughly overwhelm seventh-ranked Dadeville and third-ranked Tarrant by identical 35-0 scores. A third round meeting with tenth-ranked Springville proved to be a little tougher, but Miller came through in the second half to notch a decisive 35-21 win. In last week's semifinal matchup against Montgomery Academy, the Tigers were forced to call on all their resources to come away with a 14-12 win that placed them in the finals with a chance to reclaim the Class 3A top spot.
As his team prepares to play for the championship, Miller head coach Jamie Riggs said his team has worked hard throughout the season to improve.
Miller's opponent in the championship finale, Colbert County (12-2), completed the regular season ranked No. 9 and earned its way to the title game with a 44-27 semifinal win over second-ranked Litchfield.
Riggs said the similarities between the two teams should lead to an evenly matched game.
Colbert County's schemes, as well as strengths, on each side of the ball will offer a solid test for the Tigers.
As the Tigers continue to work in preparation for Saturday's battle, Riggs said he wants his players focusing on the fundamentals that usually are the difference in big games.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Legion Field in Birmingham.