Improved Abbeville next test for TRM
Published 6:02 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2005
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
If a person bases thing on just record, this week will mark the toughest test so far for the T.R. Miller Tigers.
The name behind that test though would surprise most, if not all. Would you believe Abbeville?
The upstart Yellow Jackets will try to continue their surprising early season success when they visit the Tigers Friday at 7 p.m. in a Class 3A Region 1 game.
While T.R. Miller's first three opponents (Escambia County, Straughn and Dale County) are a combined 1-8, first-year coach Rico White has guided Abbeville to a 2-1 mark, 1-1 in region play. The Yellow Jackets, who have already matched last year's win total, ripped Barbour County 44-12 in a non-region game in week one and wiped out an 18-point deficit to nip Dale County 19-18 in week two. The Yellow Jackets suffered their first loss last week when they fell to Straughn 34-14.
Riggs said turning around a program that has had little success in recent years and plays in the shadow of a highly successful basketball program is a tough task.
Part of Abbeville's resurgence can be traced to an experienced group of skill players. The Yellow Jackets return quarterback D.J. Wiggins (5-11, 159 lb. jr.), tailback Marcus Cotton (5-9,191 lb. sr.) fullback Marcus Sipp (5-10, 154 lb. jr.) and wide receivers William Feggins (5-9, 155 lb. sr.) and Rich Combs (5-10, 162 lb. jr.) from their starting lineup of a year ago.
Last week's 42-13 win over Dale County moved T.R. Miller (3-0 overall and 2-0 in region play) into a tie with Pike County atop the region standings. While those teams may be on a collision course for a possible region championship showdown in four weeks, Riggs said his team still has plenty of work to do.
One of those areas is in kick coverage. T.R. Miller surrendered a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the opening play at Dale County and also allowed several other sizeable returns.
The T.R. Miller defense allowed just 89 yards against Dale County and picked off three passes in its secondary. Terrance Walker had two of those interceptions, while Briddell Jones had a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The T.R. Miller skipper also liked how his team continued to spread the ball around on offense.