Tigers face big test at Andalusia
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
In many ways the T.R. Miller Tigers and Andalusia Bulldogs mirror each other, but there is one big difference.
The undefeated Tigers (4-0) will find out how well they match up with the Bulldogs Friday when they travel to Andalusia for a 7 p.m. non-region game.
The Bulldogs (2-1 overall and 1-1 in Class 4A Region 1) are coming off their first setback of the season Friday when they were ripped 51-17 at UMS-Wright, which is the top-ranked team in the state in Class 4A. That game was much closer than the score indicated, as Andalusia trailed just 14-10 at halftime."
Andalusia's two wins this season are against teams T.R. Miller has also defeated. The Bulldogs beat Straughn 35-13 in the season opener and T.R. Miller beat Straughn 29-7 the following week. Andalusia beat Escambia County 35-25, while the Tigers beat Escambia County 28-20.
In addition to common opponent victories, T.R. Miller and Andalusia are also similar in that they try to use several players in their offensive attack.
Case and point is in the backfield where fullback Michael Berry (6-1, 190 lb. soph.) had a four-touchdown game against Straughn, while Ladarrius McNeil (6-1, 180 lb. jr.) rushed for three touchdowns against Escambia County and racked up 114 yards on the ground against UMS-Wright last week.
As good as Berry and McNeil are, Riggs indicated tailback Curtis Johnson (5-9, 172 lb. sr.) may be even better.
While Andalusia tends to keep the ball on the ground, Riggs said junior quarterback Matt Mellown (6-1, 181 lb. jr.) is also a big threat.
Mobile quarterbacks have given T.R. Miller trouble so far. They gave up 328 yards of total offense to Escambia County's Calvin Hartley in week one and 291 last week to Abbeville's D.J. Wiggins.
Like T.R. Miller quarterback Jordan Cauley, Mellown mixes things up among his receivers. D'Andre Wright (5-9, 165 lb. jr.), Kevin Huff (5-11, 152 lb. sr.) and Tom Hines (5-9, 142 lb. sr.) have emerged as the primary receivers.
While Andalusia's defense has surrendered an average of 29.7 points a game, Riggs said the Bulldogs' defense is much better than that number.
Although T.R. Miller gave up 342 yards in Friday's 35-14 win over Abbeville, the Tigers had a pair of individuals with big defensive games. Wade McCall had two first quarter fumble recoveries that killed Abbeville threats in Tiger territory and Julius Harris had two second half sacks.