Tigers, Thomasville hook up in battle of state's top two teams
Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2006
By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
Pollsters in the Alabama Sports Writers Association have made Friday's clash between the Thomasville Tigers and the T.R. Miller Tigers a big thing by putting the teams one-two in the Class 4A state rankings.
More importantly, the two sets of Tigers have made Friday's 7 p.m. showdown at Thomasville a huge game by what they have done on the field. Both stand 3-0 in Region 1 and both stand 5-0 overall.
T.R. Miller and Thomasville have taken slightly different paths to their undefeated status. T.R. Miller has won each of its games by at least 15 points and its last four games by 21 points or more. Meanwhile Thomasville sweated out a 20-14 win over Sweet Water in week one, a 27-18 win over Jackson in week three and a 28-14 win over W.S. Neal two weeks ago in a contest that was tied in the fourth quarter.
While it has survived a few close calls, Thomasville has also racked up plenty of points. The host Tigers are averaging 34 points a game. That average got a big boost last week when Thomasville smashed Choctaw County 55-8.
If Thomasville has a fault, it could be turnovers. The Tigers overcame three turnovers against Jackson and four giveaways against W.S. Neal.
T.R. Miller will have to find a way to contain Thomasville quarterback Jake Overtsreet (6-0, 205 lb. sr.). Overstreet threw for more than 1,400 yards last year and is on pace for similar numbers this season. Overstreet's numbers were held down last week by the score when he threw for only 44 yards, but two of his three completions went for touchdowns. However, it is not just Overstreet's passing arm that concerns the T.R. Miller skipper.
Overstreet has a dangerous set of receivers with Tysean Thompson (5-9, 155 lb. jr.), Shed Simmons (5-8, 175 lb. jr.) and Daril Jackson (6-1, 185 lb. jr.).
Thomasville also has a solid ground game with tailback Delvonte Harris (6-0, 165 lb. jr.) and fullback Roya Campbell (6-1, 190 lb. jr.).
Games of this magnitude are often decided by which makes the fewest mistakes. While T.R. Miller has had few turnovers all season, its penalties have been on the rise. That included a season high 18 penalties for 120 yards in last week's win over Straughn.
T.R. Miller's margin of victory has limited the amount of playing time for the starting unit, especially in the offensive backfield. The Tigers have had 12 different ball carriers the last two weeks. No T.R. Miller running back had more than four attempts against Straughn. Substitutions were in the game midway through the second quarter.