Tigers cash in victory at Andalusia
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Their approach was much different than most games. The goal of the T.R. Miller Tigers was not to find a way to stop Andalusia. Instead the game plan was to let Andalusia stop itself.
More often than not the Bulldogs did just that, as T.R. Miller muscled its way to a 28-14 non-region victory at Andalusia Friday.
Time after time the Bulldogs (2-2) were bitten by self-inflicted mistakes. Andalusia had a 391-230 edge in total offensive yards, but that advantage was negated by four lost fumbles, two interceptions and a missed field goal attempt.
The Tigers' bend but not break approach was especially evident in the first half when Andalusia racked up 250 yards of offense yet found itself shut out on the scoreboard.
The opening series of the game set the tone for things to come when the Bulldogs used 13 plays to drive 52 yards to the T.R. Miller 13 only to come away empty when Gillis Jones missed a 30-yard field goal attempt.
Meanwhile the Tigers (5-0) preferred a more lightning strike approach. They quickly went 79 yards on just five plays the first time they touched the ball.
Along the way T.R. Miller got a 20-yard pass from Jordan Cauley to Brice Martin (Cauley's 10th straight completion over two games), a 26-yard run by Briddell Jones and finally a 24-yard touchdown run by Jones.
Baxley Raines, who boomed five punts in the game for a 43.4 average, added the point after kick to make it 7-0 with 3:04 left in the first quarter.
Andalusia hurt itself again on its second series when an unsportsmanlike penalty stalled another drive in Tigers territory.
Just like its first series, T.R. Miller struck quickly on its second possession. The Tigers went 58 yards on just four plays and were largely aided by a defensive pass interference penalty.
The penalty set up a 35-yard touchdown strike from Cauley to Antonio Gomez, who caught the ball despite being double-teamed by the Andalusia defense at the goal line. Raines' second PAT made it 14-0 with 11:25 left in the first half.
Andalusia's most costly turnover of the entire game may have been on the ensuing possession when Curtis Johnson fumbled at the T.R. Miller three-yard line and Brad Smith recovered for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs had two more turnovers in T.R. Miller territory in the first half. Mikel Riggs picked off a pass from Matt Mellown at the T.R. Miller 16 and just before halftime Nykeem Barton recovered a fumble by Johnson after a reception at the T.R. Miller 25.
If Andalusia's four first half turnovers were not enough, the Bulldogs coughed up the ball again on their first series of the second half when Raines pounced on a loose handoff in the Andalusia backfield.
After six straight empty possessions, the Bulldogs finally held on to the ball long enough late in the third quarter for a nine-play, 57-yard march that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Michael Berry. Jones tacked on the PAT to trim T.R. Miller's lead to 14-7 with 42 ticks left in the third quarter.
Andalusia's defense gave its offense two opportunities to tie things up with a pair of quick stops.
The Bulldogs' first chance ended when they opted to punt at the T.R. Miller 27 with six minutes left. The next one ended when Raines made his second fumble recovery of the game at the Andalusia 28 with just over three minutes left.
After being held down most of the second half, the T.R. Miller offense came back to life when Barton used a spin move to break a tackle and rumble 23 yards into the endzone with two minutes left. Raines' kick made
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That score began a wild finish. First, Riggs intercepted his second Mellown pass of the game and returned it 72 yards down the sideline for a touchdown with 58 seconds left. Raines' fourth PAT made it 28-7.
Just as quickly Berry returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards the other way for a touchdown. Jones' kick made it 28-14.
The late fireworks were finally doused when T.R. Miller recovered an onside kick attempt.
The Tigers get back into region play this Friday when they host Slocomb at 7 p.m. on Homecoming night at Brewton Municipal Stadium. Slocomb (1-2 in region and 2-3 overall) is coming off a 21-0 loss to Houston Academy Friday.
T.R. Miller 7 7 0 14 – 28
Andalusia 0 0 7 7 – 14
T.R. MILLER- Jones 24 yard run (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- A. Gomez 35 yard pass from Cauley (Raines kick)
ANDALUSIA- Berry 1 yard run (Jones kick)
T.R. MILLER- Barton 23 yard run (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- Riggs 72 yard interception return (Raines kick)
ANDALUSIA- Berry 88 yard kickoff return (Jones kick)
First downs: T.R. Miller 10, Andalusia 22
Third down conversions: T.R. Miller 1-7, Andalusia 5-11
Fourth down conversions: T.R. Miller 0-0, Andalusia 2-3
Total yards: T.R. Miller 230 (175 rushing, 55 passing), Andalusia 391 (341 rushing, 50 passing)
Individual rushing: T.R. Miller- Jones 9-105 1TD, Barton 8-61 1TD, Puryear 5-11, J. Gomez 1-2, T. Holland 1-0, Cauley 4-(-4); Andalusia- McNeil 17-198, Berry 14-55 1TD, Mellown 13-41, Johnson 4-17, Watson 2-14, Bryant 2-10, Tyer 1-6
Individual passing: T.R. Miller- Cauley 2-9-55 1TD; Andalusia- Mellown 4-19-50 2INT
Individual receiving: T.R. Miller- A. Gomez 1-35 1TD, Martin 1-20; Andalusia- Tyer 1-16, Johnson 1-14, Baker 1-12, Wright 1-8
Individual punting: T.R. Miller- Raines 5-217, 43.4 avg.; Andalusia- Wright 2-48, 24.0 avg.
Penalties: T.R. Miller 2-20, Andalusia 5-60