WSN looks to heal wounds with win
For the first time since 1999, the W.S. Neal Eagles come into their annual Battle of Murder Creek game with T.R. Miller Friday night with a 0-9 record.
The Eagles come into the game after losing to Saraland Thursday night on the road in their final region game of the season that finished them 0-7 in region play for the third straight year.
W.S. Neal Eagle head coach Kevin Jordan said the loss to Saraland was a frustrating loss for the Eagles.
“Again, it was frustrating and followed the pattern of a few other games that we have played this season,” Jordan said. “We had the opportunities late in the game and just didn’t capitalize on them. We made a crucial mistake defensively where we were in a certain coverage and got beat deep and then fumbled the ensuing kickoff after that. Those were really two crucial mistakes in a row that hurt us at the time.”
Jordan said there were times in the ballgame where he thought his team played good offensively and defensively.
“There was no consistent play throughout the game and that was the difference,” Jordan said. “We played at times in that game as well as we did all season in all phases of the game. We just have to turn our attention towards this week.”
As for this week, W.S. Neal will take on 6-3 T.R. Miller in the Battle of Murder Creek.
Jordan said T.R. Miller’s offense is really good and it starts with senior quarterback Wil Riggs.
“They are really good on offense,” Jordan said. “Quarterback Riggs does a really good job and is a good leader and a four year starter with a quick release. I think the thing about him is, right off the bat, he has command over the offense. When I say that, he does not make a lot of mistakes and runs the offense very well and is a tough kid. He will stand in the pocket, knowing he is going to get hit, and make the throw. He steps into and puts it where it needs to be put. He understands he is going to get hit at times and he makes the throw regardless. That has impressed us. He has been that way for four years.”
Jordan says Wil has progressed in his four years and has done a super job running the offense.
“He has shown a lot of toughness because he has been injured this year,” Jordan said. “He has played through those injuries.”
Another Tiger key on offense in senior running back Anthony Herbert Jordan said.
“I think he had a really big game Friday night and the thing about him is he breaks a ton of tackles,” Jordan said. “That is what we have noticed on film. He is not really big, but does run physical. He is very allusive and fast. Also, he is very dangerous in the return game on special teams and we will have to contain him.”
Jordan noted in the receiving corps for the Tigers, tight end Ryland Dixon.
“He has been throwing to him a lot,” Jordan said. “He is a big target and really physical running the ball. He catches the ball in space and we will have to account for him. Upfront, they come off the ball and really move well. They are not as big as some teams we have played in the past, but they are not small. They pull a lot of guards and McAnally stands out for them on the offensive line. They can be dynamic on offense because of their experience. That will be a challenge for us defensively.”
Defensively for T.R. Miller, Jordan says they are really solid in all phases from the front to the secondary.
“They don’t give up a lot of big plays,” Jordan said. “That is something for us to sustain drives offensively, we are going to have to stay on our blocks and grind out some first downs. That will be a challenge for us because I don’t know if we will be able to throw the ball over the top of them or not. They are also good in every phase of the kicking game. They don’t have that place kicker like in years past, but they cover good and their returns teams are good and that is something we are going to have work on during the week.”
While the Eagles are 0-9 and scoreless against T.R. Miller in their last two games, this is a one-game season for the Eagles according to Jordan. Although winless, a win over your rival can heal a lot of wounds.
“We spoke to our kids about this and it does not matter if we are 9-0 or 0-9, this game is still the biggest game of the season,” Jordan said. “So, getting them up for this game wont be a problem at all or a challenge. We have some kids on our football team that have transferred from over from T.R. Miller. That game will be special for those kids. This is one of those games that you don’t have to give them motivation. They will have the motivation themselves.”
Jordan said this rivalry is a unique rivalry.
“Of all the places I have been and the places I have been with big rivalries, this one has to be the most special and unique,” Jordan said. “This one is different. The kids will not have any trouble of getting ready for Friday night.”