Unbeaten Aliceville next test for TRM
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
For some in the Brewton area, the T.R. Miller Tigers' second round playoff matchup is a journey down memory lane.
For others, it means about a 400-mile round trip to Aliceville Friday for the Tigers' 7 p.m. encounter with the Yellow Jackets.
T.R. Miller and Aliceville have not hooked up since they met in the 1969 Class 2A state championship game played at Brewton Municipal Stadium. The Tigers won that encounter 27-0 and have added five more state championships since then.
While the Tigers (9-2) were busy disposing Holtville 56-13 in the opening round, Aliceville (11-0) was doing the same with Ashville 45-15. That game was much closer than the final score indicates. The Yellow Jackets led just 12-7 at halftime before they outscored Ashville 33-8 in the second half.
Based on numbers, Aliceville has the second most proficient offense and stingiest defense (behind Pike County in both categories) among the remaining Class 3A playoff participants.
The Yellow Jackets, who won the Region 3 championship, are averaging 42.7 points a game on offense. Aliceville has scored at least 30 points a game 10 times this season and have eclipsed 40 points six times. On the flip side, Aliceville has surrendered an average of just 6.3 points per outing. Only Gordo (14), West Blocton (18) and Ashville (15) have reached double digits against the Yellow Jackets defense.
The Yellow Jackets have plenty of weapons to throw at the Tigers. In fact, three players surpassed 100 yards rushing in Aliceville's first-round win. Fadeldrick Hughes (5-10, 174 lb. sr.) had 12 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Jermaine Gardner (6-0, 167 lb. jr.) had 132
yards on just eight attempts. Derrick Cousette (5-9, 185 lb. sr.) added 101 yards on 12 attempts and scored three touchdowns.
Aliceville uses a shot gun offense and both Gardner and Rodarius Owens (5-10, 155 lb. jr.) will take snaps behind center. Alton Taggart (6-0, 157 lb. sr.) and Keith Clark (5-10, 196 lb. sr.) tend to be the top receiving targets.
Aliceville's closest game of the season was its 15-point, 33-18 win over West Blocton. The Tigers have had three games (Escambia County, Pike County and Slocomb) that have been decided by the margin of a touchdown and conversion. Riggs said that might be a little bit of an advantage in his team's favor if the game is close.
The Tigers have not lost a road game the last two seasons and have won 19 of their last 20 games away from Brewton Municipal Stadium.
The T.R. Miller-Aliceville winner will play the Oneonta-Montgomery Academy winner next Friday in the quarterfinals. The Tigers would host Oneonta and travel to Montgomery Academy.