Hayneville Central next up for TRM
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports editor
Sometimes the most dangerous opponent is a desperate one. The T.R. Miller Tigers will face such an opponent Friday when they host the Hayneville Central Lions at 7:30 p.m. Friday's game is also T.R. Miller's Homecoming contest.
Hayneville Central's 2-3 record in Class 3A Region 1 and 2-4 overall mark may not make the Lions appear to be a big threat to end T.R. Miller's 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.
Then again, this is a Hayneville Central team that has its backs against the wall. One more loss could end any hopes the Lions have of making the playoffs. Hayneville Central has dropped three straight games, which included a 41-12 loss to Straughn last week. Meanwhile T.R. Miller will clinch a playoff berth with a win.
The Tigers face a Hayneville Central team that has usually lived and died with the pass. Quarterback Kendall Moorer (6-1, 180 lb. sr.) has several receivers he can turn to such as Jesse Harris (5-10, 160 lb. jr.), Jamie Rush (5-9, 170 lb. sr.) and Darrell Johnson (6-2, 180 lb. sr.).
"Moorer has a great arm, but he can also take off and run with the ball if you don't pay attention. They have a lot of athleticism among their receivers. With the speed they have, they can break a play at any time," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said. "They are an improved team from where they were last year. In addition to their passing game, they have a good running back in Javaris Nelson (5-6, 160 lb. jr.) and their kicking game is solid. I'm a little surprised they don't have more than two wins."
Riggs said the Lions have often been their own worst enemy.
"Turnovers and to a lesser extent penalties have really hurt them. Probably the other thing that has hurt them is a lack of depth. They will play a team close for a while and then they get worn down," Riggs said.
Despite T.R. Miller's 4-0 region record, 6-0 mark overall, there have been some troubling trends. One is on defense where the Tigers have allowed 48 points the last two weeks against Andalusia and Elba. The Tigers have given up 100 points for the season, a respectable but hardly dominant 16.7 points per game.
Despite its unbeaten record, T.R. Miller has trailed in five of its six games and allowed a touchdown on five of six opening possessions.
"The number of points we've given up doesn't concern me. The bottom line is whether you win or lose. I'd rather win 60-54 than lose 14-13," Riggs said. "Our slow starts do concern me. Somehow we've got to get out of the gate quicker. It's a bad habit to keep falling behind."
Those problems have been negated by a Tigers' offense that has averaged 45.9 points a game so far. Each week T.R. Miller has seemed to have different players fuel that attack. Last week it was senior quarterback Brad Lannom's turn. Lannom was eight-for-eight for 251 yards with three touchdowns.
"Everything clicked on our passing game last week. Our line did a good job of protecting, Brad made some good throws and our receivers caught the ball. Brad also did a good job of spreading the ball around," Riggs said.
Riggs hopes his team does not look ahead to next week's game against Region 1 co-leader Pike County or get distracted by Homecoming activities this week.
"That's always a concern, but I also think our players know their focus needs to be on Hayneville Central this week. We'll worry about Pike County next week," Riggs said.