Published 9:57 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2005
What constitutes a rivalry?
For T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal, the adjacent boundary of East Brewton and Brewton is the natural starting point. Both schools are of near equal size. They've had three playoff encounters in the last 10 years and they've battled off an off for Area/Region titles.
On the other hand, how much of a rivalry is it where one side dominates things as T.R. Miller has. The Tigers have won 10 straight, 21 of 22, 24 of 26 and 32 of the last 35 encounters. W.S. Neal has not beaten T.R. Miller at home in 20 years and has one victory at Brewton Municipal Stadium since 1973. T.R. Miller's average margin of victory in its current 10-game winning streak against W.S. Neal is 21.4 points a game.
Does it take some balance in a series for it to be a “rivalry?”
If that is the case, have other opponents actually become better rivals for the respective teams?
Has Pike County become a better “rival” for T.R. Miller since the two schools became region roommates four years ago? Both are usually among the top ranked teams in the state when they hook up. Just about all of the encounters have been close and gone down to the wire. Their four regular season meetings have all had a big impact on the region championship plus there was the overtime playoff semifinal game two years ago. With the exception of T.R. Miller's 52-27 victory last year, the last other four encounters have been decided by six, six, one and three points.
Has Straughn become W.S. Neal's top “rival” since they joined the same region four years ago?
The Blue Eagles spoiled Straughn's undefeated season after a 7-0 start with a 27-20 win in 2002 and then rallied for a 21-13 win in 2003. Last year Straughn won 16-15 with a field goal the last play of the game and then edged the Blue Eagles 21-14 last week.
So does the region and classification realignment every two years. T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal could both easily move up to Class 4A next year, while Pike County and Straughn could be left behind in Class 3A and off next year's respective schedules.
There is no debate about rivalry in the mind of T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs.
With a do-or-die situation in terms of qualifying for the playoffs on the line Friday, what would mean more to W.S. Neal fans