TRM to face No. 2 Handley in second round Friday

Published 11:14 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Following a 55-12 home romp of Greensboro Friday night in the first round of the AHSAA class 3A state playoffs, the T.R. Miller Tigers (9-2) will travel this week to Roanoke to take on the 11-0 and No. 2-ranked Handley Tigers.
T.R. Miller Tiger head coach Jamie Riggs said his team did a good job of adjusting to Greensboro’s offense Friday since they came out running instead of their normal passing.
“After watching the film, I think we did some really good things in the game,” Riggs said. “We did a nice job, I think, of trying to adjust to what they were doing on offense. It was different than what they were normally doing. They were doing it with a really outstanding athlete. He caused us problems throughout the game. But, I think we did a nice job of that. They had some good defensive players and I think we blocked them at times and made the plays in the passing game.”
Riggs said his Tiger defense played a big role in the win also.
“We made three interceptions and had two of them run back for touchdowns,” Riggs said. “That really turned the game. All of those were big plays and overall I thought we did a nice job in the game.”
This week, the Tigers face undefeated and ranked Handley. Handley is outscoring their opponents 439-141 this year while T.R. Miller is outscoring their opponents 354-170.
The two sets of Tigers have faced off against each other five times in the past with Friday’s match up being the sixth time the Tigers have met since 1991 with all matchups being played at Handley.
T.R. Miller is 4-1 against Handley with the lone loss coming in the last match up between the teams in 2007—a 34-14 win for Handley in the first round of the playoffs.
T.R. Miller and Handley first met in 1991 in the semi-finals with T.R. Miller winning 39-20. In 1996, the two teams met in the first round with T.R. Miller winning 54-20 and followed the game with a meeting in 1997 in the third round with T.R. Miller winning 11-8.
The other meeting came in 1998 in the first round with T.R. Miller winning 42-21.
“Everyone knew going into the year this year that Handley was going to have a great team,” Riggs said. “I think they were named as one of the teams to beat in the state. I think it probably starts with their defense. They are a good defensive team. Their middle linebacker, Christopher Dillard No. 4, is the leader of their defense. He is a good tackler and pursues the ball well.”
Riggs said the second thing for Handley is their offense.
“They have three really big offensive linemen,” Riggs said. “They are outstanding players. We are going to have to keep our pads low and stay down because you don’t want to get in a shoving match with them up high. They are very good at what they do and have several running backs that they play. The best one is No. 21, Aquarius Hunter. They are an I-formation and wishbone team. They primarily run the ball and their quarterback, No. 12 Artravian Kyles, will run the option and does a good job of throwing the ball. They don’t throw the ball that much, usually seven or eight times a game. They will try to make some big plays in that with a big receiver in No. 8 Tevin Cook. They have just done a good job of moving the ball and running the ball on most people. They have just been impressive the entire year.”
Riggs said they have had some close games with Marbury (29-14) and Clay County (20-13).
“Those were close games,” Riggs said. “But they always seem to manage to win at the end. Other than those two, they have just dominated people. So, they are an outstanding team and that is why they are undefeated and where they are.”
While T.R. Miller has made the state playoffs now for 28 straight years, recent Tiger teams have struggled in the playoffs.
After years of making at least the semi-finals or finals, T.R. Miller has been put out of the playoffs the last years in the second round.
Since 2006, after six straight years of making it to the semi-finals or finals, the Tigers have lost in the second round, first round, semi-finals, and second round in 2009 and 2010.
Riggs said in years where the Tigers have been successful in the playoffs and made championship runs, there have always had to make an upset in the second round and Friday night would be their chance to do that again.
“Sooner or later when you get to the playoffs almost everyone plays someone better than you,” Riggs said. “So, if you want to continue to play, sooner or later you are going to have to upset someone. We have done that a lot through the years where we pulled an upset somewhere against someone. But, in order to do that, you have to have the right mental attitude. You have to understand what you are dealing with and you have to play your greatest game. Our goal right now is to play the greatest game we have played all year. We need to utilize our strength and play them as hard as we can play them. If you get the game into the fourth quarter, you have a chance.”
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Handley High School.

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About Adam Robinson

My name is Adam Robinson and I have been the Sports Editor of the Brewton Standard since September 2007. I cover all the local sports in the Brewton area. I am a 2007 graduate of Troy University with a degree in Print Journalism with a contract in Sports Information. I married Shari Lynn in June of 2007 and we welcomed our first child, Hatlee, in April of 2010.

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