Nose for the end zone
Published 6:06 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2006
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
Jamie Riggs has seen one of his players on a touchdown binge like this before.
Then again, Riggs' memory has to go all the way back to 1990 when Ron Gibson crossed the goal line 29 times to find a T.R. Miller player on a better scoring streak than the one senior running back Justin Gomez has been on in recent weeks.
The 5-9, 202-pound Gomez posted his best scoring game of his high school career last Friday when he burned W.S. Neal's defense for five touchdowns, four on the ground and another on a pass reception, in the Tigers' 42-35 loss.
Gomez, who has 19 total touchdowns on the season, 17 by rushing and two more by receiving, has especially been on a tear the last three weeks where he has reached the end zone 13 times. It began with a four-touchdown effort against Jackson in a 38-34 T.R. Miller victory followed by four more touchdowns the following week in the Tigers' 33-6 win at Hillcrest Evergreen. Then came his five-touchdown performance last week.
Gomez, who leads the Tigers in rushing this season with 589 yards, is more than just a runner. His six receptions last week against W.S. Neal moved him into the team lead in that category with 15 catches for 177 yards.
With a week to still go in the regular season, Gomez is already way ahead of last year's output where he rushed for 413 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught nine passes for 120 yards. Part of his increased production simply comes from an increased workload. Gomez already had 31 more rushing attempts than he had all last season when T.R. Miller played 14 games.
Gomez said he has three main tools he tries to utilize.
Gomez also knows his performance hinges on his teammates, particularly his offensive line.