School year provided us some memorable and not so memorable moments
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
As the 2003-04 high school sports year comes to a close, it has left us with a lot of memories.
Here are some moments that stick out. Some were good and not so good. Reminder though, I didn't arrive here until late September so there were a few moments I missed.
Shot of the year: Greg Bogan gave the T.R. Miller Tigers basketball team perhaps their best win of the season when his three-pointer at the buzzer stunned a state ranked Red Level team.
Shot of the year (Honorable Mention): Probably an even more incredible and dramatic shot was a three-pointer T.R. Miller's Damien Jackson hit as he fell out of bounds at the buzzer that put the Tigers into overtime in their home game against Monroe County.
However, I have to relegate Jackson's herocis to Honorable Mention since the Tigers lost that game in overtime, while Bogan's shot netted a victory. Great effort though.
Most heartbreaking loss: Take your pick between the two losses the T.R. Miller Tigers football team endured against Pike County last fall.
Pike County won the regular season game 27-21 with a touchdown in the final 10 seconds. The Bulldogs then edged the Tigers 35-34 in overtime in the state semifinals in a contest most agree decided the state championship.
Some might put the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers' loss to Abbeville in the 3A state basketball championship game at the top of the list, but that game didn't go down to the last play like the two football games against Pike County.
Best comeback: The W.S. Neal Blue Eagles football team did not have much zip in its game for the first three quarters of its regular season finale at Geneva, as it fell behind 23-7 after three quarters.
Thanks to two long touchdown runs by Alphonso Gross, an interception return for a score by Justin Smith and a third touchdown run by Gross, W.S. Neal erupted for 25 points in the final quarter for a 32-23 win.
Best team nobody saw: Outside of a few parents of players, did anybody in the community watch the T.R. Miller Tigers track team dominate competition en route to a second straight Class 3A state championship this spring? I didn't think so.
Iron man award: W.S. Neal skipper Shane Smothers gets this honor for doing double duty this spring coaching both track and softball.
The schedule saved its worst for last for Smothers when he had to go to Troy for the state track meet for the morning and afternoon, to Brewton that evening and night for the softball Area Tournament and then back to Troy late at night for the rest of the state track meet the next day.
Iron woman award: Few will argue the catcher's spot is probably the most demanding from a physical standpoint in both baseball and softball.
T.R. Miller Lady Tigers catcher Terri Lynne Peacock never backed away for a single breather this season, as she caught (approximately) all 182 of her team's innings.
Most desperate victory: The W.S. Neal Blue Eagles basketball team had lost 25 consecutive games over two seasons and appeared well on their way to a winless 2003-04 campaign when they stopped the bleeding with a 56-51 victory at Pleasant Home. It was the team's lone win in a 1-22 season.
Best return to former school: After three years of high school at W.S. Neal, Patrick Sorrells transferred to arch rival T.R. Miller for his senior season.
In his first game back at W.S. Neal this spring as a member of the Tigers, Sorrells struck out 17 and tossed a one-hitter in a 16-2 T.R. Miller victory.
Ironically, Sorrells walked the first three batters he faced and four batters total in the first inning of that game.
Best game by a cheerleader: After several players decided not to finish the season, W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles basketball coach Tom Lawler turned to the school's cheerleading unit in order to have enough players to compete in the Area 1 Tournament game against Clarke County.
Although she had just one free throw, Hilary Shell stepped in and more than held her own with a half dozen rebounds.
Most active athlete: If there was a sporting event at W.S. Neal, chances were pretty good Brittany Tagudar would be involved in some capacity.
Tagudar did double duty throughout the school year. In the fall, she was a cheerleader and volleyball player. During the basketball season she played for the girls team. After those games, she put her cheerleading uniform back on for the boys games. In the spring, she did both track and softball.
Worst place to make debut: The first football game I covered when I arrived last fall was W.S. Neal's contest at Hayneville Central.
The field was located in the middle of nowhere and hard to find, there was rocky, dirt path down a hill from the school to the field, the fencing around the field was torn up, most of the bleachers on the visitors side were busted, the field had dim, yellow lights and there were no programs to tell me who was who.
Fortunately things have gotten better and I have no more trips to Hayneville scheduled since it has dropped out of Region 1.
Worst postseason format: How efficient is a postseason tournament (in this case last fall's Class 3A Area volleyball Tournament) where it takes seven games to eliminate two teams (out of four)?
Actully I think all high school postseason series (not just volleyball) should be single elimination. When a team loses, that's it. Second chances are for the regular season.
Biggest loss: No game result compares to the tragic loss of life of W.S. Neal student/athletes Reshena Young and Chason Godbolt.
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