Tigers complete comeback over Neal 55-0

Published 2:32 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

By By Adam Robinson- Sports Editor
They said it all year and had it on shirts and on their minds ever since last year. After enduring their first losing season in 25 years in 2007 with a record of 5-6, the T.R. Miller Tiger football team named the 2008 season “The Comeback.”
But, according to coach Jamie Riggs, a comeback could not be complete without one thing: a win over W.S. Neal.
Check that off the list.
After two straight losses to the Eagles, the T.R. Miller donned black jerseys Friday night and defeated the Eagles 55-0 in the 2008 version of the Battle of Murder Creek.
It was the biggest defeat in the storied history between the two rivals, surpassing the 51-0 Tiger win in 1969.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 10-0, and the Eagles ended their season at 2-8.
T.R. Miller coach Riggs improved to 20-3 over the Eagles in his 20 seasons as coach, and W.S. Neal head coach Blaine Hathcock fell to 2-2 against the Tigers in his fourth game of the series.
With the perfect regular season at 10-0, the 2008 Tiger team became the eighth T.R. Miller team to complete a perfect regular season, the first since 2004.
The tone was set early in the game as Miller took the kickoff and went four plays and picked up four first downs to claim a 6-0 lead after the failed PAT just a little over four minutes into the game.
After the Miller score, W.S. Neal got right to work and used five plays to get into Miller territory, but failed to move the ball any farther and turned the ball over on downs. That would be the only time the Eagles got into Miller territory other than their opening drive of the second half and on their last possession of the game after taking over after a Miller fumble on the Tigers' 45-yard line.
The Tigers had 25 first downs to the Eagles six and out gained the Eagles 514-112 in total yards. The Tiger defense held the eagles to 112 yards rushing and no passing yards.
A big part of that was the loss of Eagle starting quarterback Taylor Cash early in the game.
Also, the Tigers did not have to attempt a single punt in the game.
T.R. Miller Tiger defensive coordinator Chris Baxter was proud of his team's defense in the game and shutout and was proud to get his first victory over Neal as a member of the Tigers coaching staff.
T.R. Miller got on the board first with a Wil Riggs 21-yard pass to Terez Lane to put the Tigers up 6-0 after the failed PAT with 10:24 left in the first quarter.
After allowing Neal to get to the Tiger 15-yard line, the defense held and the Tigers took over with 6:14 left in the first quarter. From there, the Tigers used eight plays and got a 16-yard run from Cortez Banks to go up 13-0 after Nick Dorso's PAT with 3:24 left in game. After missing his first PAT, Dorso connected on all his remaining PATs.
After an Eagle punt, Banks picked up his second touchdown of the night when he went from the Miller sideline, reversed himself to the Neal sideline and scored to put T.R. Miller up 20-0 with 11:42 left in the half.
Neither team would score in the remaining time as T.R. Miller took a 20-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, W.S. Neal benefited from a Tiger pass interference call on a fake punt to move the ball into Tiger territory and moved the ball to the Tiger 37-yard line, but Jeremy Nicholson was stopped on a fourth-and-one play and the Tigers took over on their own 37-yard line.
The Eagles were held to only 33 yards in the second half and two first downs.
Five plays later, Matt Lane put the Tigers up 27-0 with a 7-yard run with 5:17 left in the third quarter,
T.R. Mille would make it a 34-0 lead after an Eagle punt when Riggs connected for his first of two touchdown passes with Bradley McCreary and second touchdown of the night and three total when McCreary scored from 36-yards out to go up 34-0.
ON the ensuing kickoff, an Eagle fumble on the return set up a two-play 47-yard touchdown run from Matt Lane to go ahead 41-0 with 45.1 seconds left in the third quarter,
On the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles fumbled again and Riggs and McCreary hooked up for a 32-yard touchdown play on their first play to go up 48-0 with 34.1 left in third quarter.
T.R. Miller scored 28 points in the third quarter.
After an Eagle punt, T.R. Miller got their last touchdown of the night when Anthony Herbert scored from 26-yards out to give T.R. Miller a 55-0 lead with 7:03 left in the game and claim the big win.
T.R. Miller senior captain Mabry Cook said he was proud of the win and to wear the black jersey.
Another senior, Matt Lane, who had two touchdowns in the win and 138 yards, said to complete the comeback over Neal was a great feeling.
Wil Riggs credited his teammates for the big win over Neal.
T.R. Miller Tiger offensive line coach and former Tiger player Daniel Wilson said to get his first win over Neal as a coach and for his offensive line's performance in the game was big.
Tiger coach Jamie Riggs said not only was this team good for his players, but for the fans also.
T.R. Miller will take on Dale County this Friday night at home in the first round of the playoffs at 7 p.m.