Tigers dominate Warriors

Published 2:30 am Monday, September 7, 2009

By By Randy Winton
sports writer

Maybe, as the old song used to say, T.R. Miller’s football team could “blame it on the rain.” It certainly would have served as an adequate excuse for the Tiger’s poor start Friday night. After all, they did arrive at Mobile’s Cottage Hill Christian Academy only to find a muddy quagmire awaiting them. So as they slopped their way through a less-than-motivated first quarter, they needed something to get the engines going.
Enter Anthony Herbert.
It was “Ant” who provided the spark that helped lead the Tigers to a 46-21 win Friday night over Cottage Hill in the Region 1 opener for both teams.
In doing so, Herbert bulled his way for 178 yards on just 12 carries and three touchdowns as he all but carried the offensive load for the winners. But he wasn’t finished there.
In addition, he caught a pair of passes for 56 yards – both resulting in touchdowns. His touchdowns came on a 31-yard pass from Wil Riggs in the second quarter, a 25-yard pass from Riggs in the third and an 80-yard dash in the final period.
The win improved T.R. Miller’s record to 2-0 in the regular season, including last night’s all-important region opener. But it didn’t come before a lack-lustre start offensively and a defense that yielded 355 passing yards on the night was overcome by Herbert and a rushing attack that crushed the Warrior defense. The Tigers pounded out 368 yards on the ground, while Riggs — the junior quarterback — added 102 yards through the air to give the Tigers a total of 470 yards on the night.
With the Tigers taking so long to get going, it opened the door for Cottage Hill to put the first points on the board.
On its second possession of the game, directed by its sophomore quarterback Daulton Jackson, Cottage Hill culminated an 80-yard drive with a Montgomery Kennedy two-yard score to make it 6-0 with a little more than three minutes to go in the opening frame.
So while the Tigers took a while to get it going, a 20-point second quarter was a pretty good answer to Cottage Hill’s early lead.
Utilizing the strength of the right side of its offensive line, Herbert relied heavily on the blocking of Caleb McAnally, Johntae Brown and Cody Swain to turn the tide of momentum in the game.
Three times on crucial third-down situations, Herbert followed the right-side trio to success. Twice it resulted in first downs before Riggs bulled over from the 1-yard line to score the first Tiger touchdown.
Moments later – following a Terez Lane interception and dazzling 28-yard return, it took just three plays for the Tigers to score again. This time it was Jaren Jackson carrying the load. First he rambled 24 yards down to the 9 before finishing the job on the next play with a nifty 9-yard run. Although the PAT kick failed, T.R. Miller grabbed a lead it would never relinquish, 13-6.
On its next possession, Miller benefitted from great field position.
After Cottage Hill punted from its own 13, the Tigers were able to start at the 31. After an incomplete pass, Riggs connected with Herbert on the right sideline then watched as he nimbly juked two players and ran through three others en route to the 31-yard TD. Wes Dickey made the second of his three PATs to up the advantage to 20-6 just one minute before the half.
Having pretty well warn down the Warrior defense with its punishing running game, T.R. Miller added a pair of third-quarter touchdowns when Lane bounced a run outside and raced down the left sideline for a 19-yard run before Herbert’s 25-yard scoring catch with 2:39 left in the third to make it 33-12.
Herbert’s 80-yard run and Tyler Nelms 2-yard plunge rounded out the scoring for the winners.