Tigers ready for some home cooking

Published 12:44 am Wednesday, September 8, 2004

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
With back-to-back wins over Escambia County and Straughn, life on the road has obviously been good to the T.R. Miller Tigers so far.
Like most people though, the Tigers enjoy home cooking. T.R. Miller will finally get a chance to play on its home turf for the first time this season Friday when it takes on the Dale County Warriors at 7:30 p.m. in a Class 3A Region 1 contest.
Actually T.R. Miller will see a lot of Brewton Municipal Stadium the remainder of the regular season. Dale County marks the first of three straight opponents the Tigers will face at home and T.R. Miller will play six of its final eight games at home.
"We've actually played our last three games on the road counting our last playoff game last year at Pike County so we're obviously looking forward to playing at home again. I don't think we change our preparation any for home and away games. You do get a little more time to relax on Friday since you don't have to spend a lot of time on a bus," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said.
Both T.R. Miller and Dale County captured their respective Region 1 openers last week. The Tigers won a tight defensive struggle at Straughn 10-3. Meanwhile the Warriors rebounded from a 44-7 loss to Geneva in week one with a 21-13 triumph at home over Abbeville last week.
The T.R. Miller defense, which has allowed just one touchdown in its first two games, will probably get its best passing test so far against Warriors quarterback Michael Johnson. Johnson threw for 134 yards in Dale County's game against Geneva and had another productive game against Abbeville.
"Johnson is a good athlete. He has a pretty good arm and he also has some speed and can run with the ball," Riggs said.
Dale County's running game, led by running back Brandon Wilson, has had mixed success so far.
"They run a wing T offense. If you don't make the right adjustments to it, it can cause a lot of problems," Riggs said.
Even though the Warriors' defense has given up 57 points in two games, Riggs said Dale County, which dropped from Class 4A to 3A this season, can cause some problems with that part of its game.
"They've got pretty good size with their defensive line and their linebackers are also pretty big," Riggs said. "While Dale County has pretty good size, as a whole they are young."
Meanwhile T.R. Miller has achieved its 2-0 record so far despite the fact it has completed just one pass in two games.
"There are three main parts of passing. First, you have to have protection. Second, you have to make a good throw. Third, the receivers have to catch the ball. It seems like we have usually had two of those parts on our pass attempts, but not all three. I think eventually that part of our game will come around," Riggs said.
The T.R. Miller skipper said
See TIGERS Page 7A
for now the Tigers will continue to use their two-quarterback rotation of juniors Antonio Gomez and Jordan Cauley. Gomez is coming off a 107-yard rushing night last week against Straughn, while Cauley has the only completion on the season.
"They both can do different things for us and for now we feel comfortable with both," Riggs said.
Special teams has been a big part of the Tigers' success in the early going. Sophomore Baxley Raines is six-for-six in point after kicks and booted a 35-yard field goal against Straughn.

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