Tigers keep rolling, rolling, rolling
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Midfield quarterback Sylvester Mencer did his best to showcase himself as a finalist for Class 3A Back of the Year.
The problem for Mencer and his Patriot teammates was the T.R. Miller Tigers did a better job of showcasing themselves as 3A's top team.
In a battle of two unbeatens, the Tigers surprisingly had little trouble dispatching of the fourth-ranked Patriots 28-14 Friday in state quarterfinal round action in the Birmingham suburb.
The game was not nearly as close as the final score, as the Tigers (12-0) amassed 290 yards of total offense in the first half when they roared out to a 28-0 lead.
"We did a really good job of executing on both offense and defense in that first half. We really played well," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said.
A big key to the Tigers first half lead was their ability to bottle up Mencer. Mencer compiled 298 yards of total offense (93 rushing and 205 passing) for the game, but T.R. Miller limited the Patriots quarterback to just 81 yards total offense (11 rushing and 70 passing) in the first half to go along with two interceptions.
"We did a good job of bottling Mencer up in the first half. You figure he is going to get some yards though. He is too good a player to completely shut down," Riggs said.
T.R. Miller's list of heroes was a lot longer. One of the biggest resides in Riggs' household, junior wide receiver/defensive back Mikel Riggs.
The younger Riggs picked off Mencer twice in the first half on defense and added a big 33-yard touchdown reception from Jordan Cauley on a fourth-and-20 that took the lead to 28-0.
"Those were big plays, especially that touchdown reception because it came on fourth down. Mikel had to break a tackle at about the 10-yard line in order to get in," Riggs said.
After a three-and-out on its first offensive possession, T.R. Miller had a two-and-score on its second series. All but two of those yards on that possession came when Cauley found Damien Jackson wide open on the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown reception. Baxley Raines' point after kick made it 7-0 with 7:15 left in the opening frame.
The Tigers finished off the Patriots (12-1) with a 21-point second quarter. T.R. Miller began that outburst with a 13-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Justin Gomez on the second play of the second quarter. Raines' PAT made it 14-0.
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T.R. Miller went 80 yards on its next series although Midfield contributed 45 of those yards through penalties. Tim Atcher capped off series