Published 5:19 am Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The year 2005 provided a lot of moments, some good and some not so good, that will not be forgotten for some time.
Here are some of the moments that will stick out with me.
Best individual accomplishment: As an indicator of both longevity and success, T.R. Miller Tigers football coach Jamie Riggs won his 200th game in week two when the Tigers knocked off Straughn 29-7.
Best imitation of Superman: W.S. Neal freshman designated hitter Jake Smith went seven-for-seven with four homers and 10 RBIs on the final day of play at the Escambia County Tournament to lead the Blue Eagles to the championship.
Worst moment: Two T.R. Miller football fans were sent to the hospital after a section of the concrete bleachers they were sitting on collapsed during the second-round playoff game at Aliceville.
Best step forward by a program: The T.R. Miller Lady Tigers volleyball team easily gets this honor. T.R. Miller had gone 23-47 during its first three years of competition, but last fall the Lady Tigers went 21-12, won the first annual Escambia County Tournament, their first Area Tournament and had their deepest advancement in postseason. Give Honorable Mention to the T.R. Miller Tigers basketball team for advancing to the regional for the first time in nine years.
Best upset nobody knows about: When the Jefferson Davis Community College Lady Warhawks softball team beat Wabash Valley (Ill.) 2-0 at the Okaloosa-Walton Tournament last spring, little did they know then Wabash Valley would later win 39 straight games and finish fourth in the country.
Worst turnover rate: The W.S. Neal softball program is on its FOURTH coach in 2005. Angela Carr began the year as the Lady Blue Eagles coach and left the program midway through the spring season. Chuck Riddle filled in the remainder of the spring. Chuck Phillips was hired to coach the team in 2006, but left the team without ever having coached a game. Now Scott Robinson is slated to coach the team next spring.
Best performance by a first-year player: Even though T.R. Miller senior Joy McCorvey had never played volleyball before this season, she immediately became a dominant force at middle hitter and was a key figure in the rise of the Lady Tigers team performance.
Best individual performance: Since the state title is the ultimate goal for any high school athlete, W.S. Neal's Joe Bailey and T.R. Miller's Joy McCorvey both won individual state crowns in track last spring. Bailey won the Class 3A discus state crown, while McCorvey won the 3A state 200 and 400 meter dashes.
Best streak stopper: Trinity Presbyterian had won 45 straight regular season football games until W.S. Neal shocked the perennial Class 4A state power 7-6 in week five.
Worst streak: Forget the fact the Jefferson Davis Community College Lady Warhawks volleyball team lost their last 20 games and finished the year 3-29. JDCC came up on the short end of its last 42 sets.
Most controversial yard: A decision by one official who ruled W.S. Neal's two-point conversion attempt against Headland was successful was overturned in the Blue Eagles' 21-20 loss to the Rams.
It was a setback that would have a big impact on the Blue Eagles' failure to make the playoffs.
Best retirement: Two long-time area athletic faces said farewell to their professions in2005. T.R. Miller track and assistant football coach Alan Baker stepped down after 21 years of service, while Jefferson Davis Community College athletic director Karen Reynolds said good-bye after 38 years at the school.
Best time to step up: While Tripp Owens posted the low score for the T.R. Miller Tigers golf team in every regular season meet, James Dixon stepped up with the team's best score at the Section Meet. Dixon's performance helped T.R. Miller finish second in the tournament and qualify for the state meet.
Best comeback: This one goes not to a team, but an individual.
W.S. Neal pitcher Brandon Douglas' season was feared over after he injured an ankle in a game against Clarke County.
Douglas hobbled his way back to the mound and gave his team eight and third innings of gutsy work in wins over T.R. Miller and Flomaton at the Escambia County Tournament.