Unbeaten Tigers try to avoid looking past winless Straughn

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2006

sports editor

It looks like a mismatch on paper when the T.R. Miller Tigers visit the Straughn Tigers Friday for a 7 p.m. non-region game.
On one hand, there is T.R. Miller, which is 4-0 overall, 3-0 in Class 4A Region 1, ranked second in the state and has outscored its four opponents (Clarke County, Southside-Selma, Escambia County and Monroe County) by a combined 153-52 margin.
Then there is Straughn, which has gotten off to an 0-4 overall start, 0-3 in Class 3A Region 2, and has been outscored by its four opponents (Red Level, Abbeville, Pike County and Geneva) by a combined 178-37 margin.
T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said Straughn's numbers are a bit misleading.
While Straughn may not be as bad as its record, there are reasons why the host Tigers have struggled. One of them is youth. Straughn has a decent number of seniors, 12, but only six juniors. Eighteen of Straughn's 50-member roster are freshmen and eighth graders.
T.R. Miller also faced a young Monroe County team Friday when it won 48-12. The victorious Tigers raced out to a 34-6 halftime lead en route to the victory.
Injuries have also hurt Straughn, most notably a hamstring injury to running back Justin Freeney (5-7, 158 lb. sr.) that has severely limited his playing time.
One of the few carryovers Straughn has from its playoff team of a year ago is quarterback Ryne Taylor (6-0, 170 lb. soph.), son of Straughn coach Trent Taylor.
As T.R. Miller reaches the halfway point of its regular season Friday, Riggs said his team is starting to establish its identity.
T.R. Miller had a season high 12 different players carry the ball against Monroe County Friday. Six different receivers caught balls from quarterback Baxley Raines.
our young players a lot of experience in a varsity situation, especially the last three weeks,” Riggs said.

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