Tigers have a royal time with Jay
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
It may not have been their best offensive or defensive game of the season. It may not have been their best performance on special teams so far.
When everything is put together, it adds up to the best all-around outing for the T.R. Miller Tigers and a 42-0 win over the Jay (Fla.) Royals Friday at Brewton Municipal Stadium.
The Tigers (8-2) closed out the regular season with a performance that saw (a) six players account for six touchdowns, (b) their first shutout of the season, and (c) two kickers go six-for-six in conversions and the recovery of an onside kick.
"It was a good, all-around game for us. We got a lot of people involved on offense. Actually, we didn't get that many snaps because we had some possessions where we scored pretty quickly and some people didn't get quite the work we wanted to give them. Our defense made some good plays and we got some good kicks with our special teams," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said.
Such a performance could not have come at a better time for the Tigers with the start of the Class 3A playoffs and this Friday's first-round 7 p.m. home game against Holtville (7-3) just a week away.
"This was a good way for us to go into the playoffs. Right now the biggest thing we need for the playoffs is to get everybody healthy. We'll need as many healthy bodies as we can get," Riggs said.
T.R. Miller had little trouble disposing of Jay, as the Tigers scored touchdowns on their first four possessions.
A short field played a key role in T.R. Miller's first score, as the Tigers needed only five plays to go 39 yards. While Jordan Cauley had a key 13-yard completion to Laine Lucas on the middle play of the series, it was a four-yard touchdown run by Briddell Jones that finished the job. Baxley Raines hit the first of his five conversions to make it 7-0 with 8:06 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers were able to turn Jay away on one of its few serious scoring threat in the game on the ensuing series. The Royals drove 40 yards over 11 plays before Deven Castleberry's incompletion stopped the drive on downs at the T.R. Miller 25.
Tigers running back Nick Puryear had just one carry in the game, but he made the most of it on the next play when he raced those 75 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. Raines' PAT kick made it 14-0 with 2:26 left in the quarter.
T.R. Miller then caught the Jay special teams off guard on the ensuing kickoff, as Brice Martin recovered an onside kick at the Royals 45.
That play became even bigger when Cauley followed the recovery with completions of 21 yards to Nykeem Barton and 13 yards to Mikel Riggs to set up an eight-yard touchdown run by Barton. Raines' third PAT kick of the quarter suddenly boosted the lead to 21-0 with 27 seconds left in the period.
"The onside kick and the touchdown we got off it was probably the dagger in the game. (Special teams) Coach (Eddie) Brundidge spotted something and made the call for the onside kick," Riggs said.
The Tigers got their only touchdown by air on their fourth series when Cauley hit Laine Lucas for a 36-yard strike. Raines' kick took the lead up to 28-0 with 9:02 left in the half.
Jay's best chance to get on the scoreboard came in the waning moments of the first half. Thanks largely to Castleberry's 15-yard completion to Brandt Hendricks that had a personal foul penalty tacked on to the end of the play, the Royals got to the T.R. Miller 14 with time for one more play.
The Royals originally opted for a 31-yard field goal attempt, but Tyler DeGraaf's kick was no good. Jay got another chance when the Tigers were called for roughing the kicker.
This time instead of taking a chance at a 24-yard attempt, the Royals sent their offense back on the field. The move backfired when Castleberry was picked off by Justin Gomez in the endzone on the last play of the half.
The first time T.R. Miller touched the ball in the second half, it fumbled away the kickoff. The second time the Tigers got their hands on the ball, they responded with a 17-play, 92-yard drive that ate 11:38 off the clock.
T.R. Miller had one score wiped out during the possession when an illegal block in the back penalty nullified a 76-yard touchdown run by Jones. That later opened the door for Travis Holland to score his first touchdown of the season, a six-yard run with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter. Raines' fifth PAT kick of the game took the lead to 35-0.
The Tigers appeared more than content to run out the clock when they got it back at their own 14-yard line with 3:46 left. That did not stop Tanner Shehan from busting loose for a 62-yard touchdown run six plays later. Reo Kirkland became the eighth T.R. Miller player to score on the evening when he booted the extra point kick to make it 42-0 with 28 ticks left.
At T.R. Miller
Jay 0 0 0 0 – 0
T.R. Miller 21 7 0 14 – 42
T.R. MILLER- Jones 4 yard run (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- Puryear 75 yard run (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- Barton 8 yard run (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- Lucas 36 yard pass from Cauley (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- T. Holland 6 yard run (Raines kick)
T.R. MILLER- Shehan 62 yard run (Kirkland kick)
First downs: T.R. Miller 16, Jay 12
Third down conversions: T.R. Miller 4-5, Jay 3-12
Fourth down conversions: T.R. Miller 0-0, Jay 2-5
Total yards: T.R. Miller 376 (258 rushing, 118 passing),
Jay 179 (128 rushing, 51 passing)
See TIGERS Page 3B
Individual rushing: T.R. Miller- Puryear 1-72 1TD, Shehan 1-62 1TD, Barton 8-54 1TD, J. Gomez 6-22, Jones 7-21 1TD, S. Holland 2-13, Matthews 3-11, T. Holland 2-9 1TD, A. Gomez 1-(-9); Jay- Wade 18-80, DeGraaf 9-29, Castleberry 3-19, Marshall 3-0, Diamond 1-0
See TIGERS Page 3B
Individual passing: T.R. Miller- Cauley 6-8-118 1TD; Jay- Castleberry 5-15-51 1INT
Individual receiving: T.R. Miller- Lucas 2-49 1TD, Barton 2-37, Riggs 2-32; Jay- Hendricks 3-25, Marshall 2-25
Individual punting: T.R. Miller- Raines 1-25, 25.0 avg.; Jay- Lowrey 3-88, 29.3 avg., DeGraaf 1-19, 19.0 avg.
Penalties: T.R. Miller- 6-52, Jay 3-15