No. 4 seed Tigers travel to No. 1 seed Daleville
For the 27th straight year, the T.R. Miller Tiger football team will be making their appearance in the state playoffs.
The T.R. Miller Tigers, who last failed to make the playoffs in 1983, will take on the Daleville Warhawks Friday on the road.
T.R. Miller comes into the game Friday with a 7-3 record after knocking off rival W.S. Neal in the Battle of Murder Creek 56-24.
Tiger head coach Jamie Riggs said the game was no surprise to him.
“I knew W.S. Neal would play their best game they had played all season,” Riggs said. “Just from watching them and knowing some of the them, I knew they had the abilities. They have some speed and we knew (Ashton) Elliott was a good receiver and (Dylan) Godwin was throwing the ball around good. So, nothing I saw surprised me. I was proud for us to come out and get ahead and every time they would come out and do something good and score, we would respond to it. That part I was pleased about. Certainly we made some mistakes in the game, but some of that had to do with Neal and some of that had to do with us. It was great to just get a victory over Neal.”
Daleville comes into the first round playoff game with an 8-2 record and the No. 1 seed from region 2 while T.R. Miller will be the No. 4 seed from region 1.
The two teams have met seven earlier times with T.R. Miller holding a 6-1 record. The last times the teams met was in 2008 in the quarterfinals at Daleville with T.R. Miller winning 21-20. The teams have played six times in playoffs with T.R. Miller’s only loss coming in 1992, losing 20-9.
This will be Daleville’s fourth home game in the series.
“We played them two years ago,” Riggs said. “They have a different coach, but they still have a few of the players that played against us. Most everyone that has described them, describes them of having great talent. They say great talent and great speed.”
Riggs said it starts with Daleville’s offense that starts with quarterback No. 12, Richard Jones.
“He does a really good job of throwing the ball and is really accurate,” Riggs said. “He has a great receiver to throw to in No. 18, Christopher Stone. He plays tight end and then they put him out wide and throw to him. He is a big target, runs well, has great hands and catches everything. He caught several passes on us two years ago as a sophomore.”
Riggs said the Warhawks have another key player, but he has been injured.
“They have a terrific tailback, but we hear he has a fractured ankle and will not play,” Riggs said. “They just have great talent. Another good receiver is No. 35, Joe Beckham. He is as fast as anyone that we have ever played before. He has great ability. With the tailback, you will see them trying to get the ball to him more and more. So, I will agree of the assessment of most people that they have great talent.”
As for the Warhawk defense, Riggs said they are really outstanding.
“They have a great nose guard, No. 70, Zamorian Walker,” Riggs said. “He is the one that makes them go. They have another good linebacker in No. 42, Jaurice Flowers. He is an outstanding linebacker. They also play Beckham in the secondary some. Again, they remind me some of Atmore and Andalusia on defense as all their guys can run. They are difficult to maintain blocks on. So we have our work cut out for us. They are particularly tough in Daleville. They played now four straight weeks at home so we have to work hard to win this ballgame.”
As for the T.R. Miller Tigers, Riggs said he always wants his team to be peaking at the Neal game and heading to playoffs.
“We are doing some things really well and we need to build on that and improve on what we are not doing well on,” Riggs said. “The thing about the playoffs is it is different because it is a new season. We have to understand the playoffs and if we understand what it takes to win, we can increase our chances to win.”
Riggs said his team needs to understand you have to play on the road and in other situations in the playoffs.
“You have to be able to play in all kinds of weather and play when you are behind,” Riggs said. “Sooner or later, everyone needs to comeback and win in the playoffs. If you don’t understand that, you wont be around long. We should understand about playing from behind.
“We have done that all year. Hopefully we will understand that and play a good game Friday night and get to the end of the game and see if we can win it.”
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Daleville.