Eagles earn bragging rights

Published 3:01 pm Monday, October 29, 2007

By By Adam Robinson – sports editor
For the fans who were in attendance at last years Battle of Murder Creek game in Brewton and thought that they had witnessed a great classic in the storied 61 years of the game, fans at Friday night's game witnessed the second in a row of classic games.
Fans at Friday night's game witnessed a low-scoring overtime thriller, the first since 1988 when Miller defeated W.S. Neal 13-7 in a double overtime game in Brewton, saw W.S. Neal's Ray Nelson drive T.R. Miller defenders into the end zone for the game-winning score. The score was eerily similar to last years game winning score for W.S. Neal as Justin Smith carried Miller defenders into the end zone to give the Eagles a 42-35 win over their archrival and defeat Miller for the first time since 1996.
W.S. Neal's victory Friday night was the first back-to-back wins for the Eagles since winning two straight in 1971 and 1972 where the Eagles won 22-16 and 37-14.
The win also served as Neal's first victory at home over T.R. Miller since a 6-3 win in 1985.
&#8220It was a great football game period,” Hathcock said. &#8220I don't think its one of those things, you know they do such a great job and have so much class in what they do, winning the football game is not going to change anything.”
W.S. Neal took advantage of three T.R. Miller fumbles and held the Tiger's rushing game to only 77 yards and to just 10 first downs in the game.
With the win and a Hillcrest defeat of Jackson 38-21 Friday night, W.S. Neal (5-4 overall, 4-4 class 4A region 1) gets the three seed in the region for the playoffs and will travel to face Cleburne County in the first round of the playoffs.
T.R. Miller (5-4 overall, 4-4 class 4A region 1) gets the fourth seed in the region and will face Handley in the first round at Handley.
After alternating punts on their first offensive series, W.S. Neal took over at their own 20-yard line on their second offensive series of the game, but fumbled the ball and Miller recovered at the Neal 30-yard line.
After driving to the 18-yard line, Miller was forced to settle for a 35-yard field goal try from Christopher Griffin.
W.S. Neal busted through the Miller line and blocked the try and Akeem Green picked up the loose ball and returned it to the 39-yard line as Neal set up shop with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
W.S. Neal went to the ground running using the duo of Ray Nelson and Green get to the Miller 20-yard line before Miller's Will Waters busted through the line and stopped Nelson for no gain on a fourth and one at the 20-yard line.
Miller then took over on offense, but a fumble on the first play was recovered by Green at the Miller 22-yard line with 11:44 left in the second quarter.
W.S. Neal would then get a 14-yard gain from Jeremy Nicholson to move the ball to the 8-yard line. A three-yard loss would move the ball to the 11-yard line and Neal turned the ball over on downs at the Miller 10-yard line.
Both teams would again alternate punts on their next offensive series as Miller took over at the 20-yard line after a Donald Peacock punt escaped into the end zone for a Miller touchback.
On the Tigers first offensive play after the punt, it was another fumble that turned the ball over to the Eagles as Green recovered the loose ball again for the Eagles.
The Eagles began at the Miller 18-yard line and took three plays as Green rushed into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown and then added the conversion as Neal took an 8-0 lead with 4:59 left in the second quarter.
Miller would then fumble on their next series, but hold Neal to a punt as Neal held an 8-0 lead at the half.
Neither team would score any points in the third quarter, as two plays into the fourth quarter with W.S. Neal driving at the Miller 29-yard line, Terez Lane picked off an Eagle pass at the 18-yard line and returned the ball to the 33-yard line.
Three plays later, Tiger quarterback Wil Riggs connected with Brandon Andrews for a 67-yard touchdown with 9:35 left in the game and then connected with Seth Holland for the two-point conversion as the Tigers tied the game at 8-8.
Both teams would alternate punts on their next offensive series, as Neal would start on their own 20-yard line with 5:06 left in the game.
After picking up a first down and moving the ball out to the 35-yard line, Eagle quarterback Donald Peacock was flushed out of the pocket and had to scramble, but Mabry Cook sacked Peacock for a seven yard loss and forced fumble. Cook would pick up the loose ball and set Miller up with good field position inside the Neal 28-ayrd line with 2:40 left in the game. Riggs would then connect with Seth Holland again to move the ball to the 8-yard line, but a 25-yard Griffin field goal attempt was blocked and Neal recovered and ran out the final seconds in the game to force overtime.
Neal won overtime coin toss and elect to go on defense first.
Miller would set up at the 10-yard line and get one yard on first down before and incomplete pass on second down and a delay on third down pushed the ball to the 14-yard line. Riggs would then pick up 11-yards on third down to move the ball to the 3-yard line where an incomplete pass in the end zone ended Miller's chances in overtime.
W.S. Neal would then have their shot as on first down Nicholson picked up two yards to move the ball to the 8-yard line. It would be on the next play where Ray Nelson took the handoff and looked like he was stopped at the line of scrimmage but continued to move his legs and the pile and scored the winning touchdown as Neal took the 14-8 victory in overtime.
Nelson finished with 65 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Green finished wit 89 yards and a touchdown.
T.R. Miller was led by Matt Lane who had 31 yards rushing. Riggs finished 14-26 with 172 yards passing and one touchdown.
W.S. Neal will take on Calhoun next week for homecoming at 7 p.m. at W.S. Neal stadium. T.R. Miller will travel to Trinity in Montgomery.