TRM football hits the road again to take on Leeds in the state quarterfinals of the class 3A playoffs
If the T.R. Miller Tiger football team missed anything on their recent trip to Birmingham to face off against Midfield Friday night in the second round of the class 3A state playoffs, they will get another chance this week as they will travel back up Interstate 65 to take on the Leeds Green Wave.
T.R. Miller earned the right to play in the quarterfinals—the first time since 2008—after they cruised to a 41-6 win over the Patriots.
“Obviously we are pleased to win the game,” Tiger head coach Jamie Riggs said. “I thought that we played really well defensively except the one play that we gave up down there. I guess it was early in the first quarter down there. Usually if you can stop folks from running the ball, you will have a chance to win the game. For the most part, we kept them from running the ball effectively. They had moved the ball and had been running the ball on a lot of people. I was really pleased about that. Then we managed to get several turnovers too. It was one of our better defensive games.”
Riggs said his offense played good at times Friday in the win, but needs to get things fixed before they make the trip this Friday.
“Offensively, I thought we played well in spurts,” he said. “We had too many missed assignments and things that you can’t do during playoff games that you want to win. So we will have to get some of that shored up before we go back to Birmingham this week.”
Leeds is currently 10-2. The Green Wave lost to Trinity 29-21 in week two at home and 26-10 to Piedmont in week five to finish the first half of the season with a 3-2 record. From there, Leeds ended the season on a five-game winning streak and is currently 7-0 in their last seven games with four shutouts. Leeds has five shutouts all season and has allowed 131 points while scoring 437.
Leeds defeated Fayette County 30-0 Friday night at Fayette County. Leeds was ranked No. 7 in the final class 3A ASWA poll while T.R. Miller was No. 2.
Riggs said players to watch for Leeds are junior running back, No. 4, Tyler Wright (5-8, 225 pounds). Also a player to watch out for is No. 7, sophomore running back Ellis Nation, III (6-0, 215 pounds), and sophomore quarterback, No. 8, Tadarryl Marshall, Jr. (6-0, 170 pounds).
“We played them four years ago (in the Challenge of Champions game in 2009 in Montgomery) and I don’t think any one of us have changed very much except the people have changed,” Riggs said. “As far as what we do on offense and defense and what they do, it is similar to what it was. They are always known to be a team with size and speed and they are not really fancy about a lot of stuff, but they are good at what they do.”
One bright spot Riggs pointed out for the Leeds’ team is their defensive squad.
“They have played great defense over the course of a number of years,” he said. “Just looking at their numbers, they have played great defense this season. During the second half of the season they have really been tough. Since their last seven games they are a on seven-game winning streak and have just been pretty dominant. They are right now the toughest thing you can be in the playoffs and that is a team on a roll. Somehow we have to get in front of them and slow them down some and find a way to get some points on the board and win the game.”
T.R. Miller is 16-4 overall in the quarterfinals with a 12-2 record at home and 4-2 on the road. Leeds is 3-5 in quarterfinal games and are 2-4 at home and 1-1 in away games. Overall this season, Leeds is 4-2 at home.
The two teams have never met in the regular season, but T.R. Miller defeated Leeds 27-7 in the 2009 Champions Challenge game. Leeds won the state title in 2008 and 2010.
While the trip to Leeds will be the second straight trip to Birmingham for his players, Riggs said it should not have any affect on his Tigers.
“We just have to play the game,” he said. “There are no excuses and we will not make any excuses about all that. You have to go play where you have to play. If you can’t play on the road in the playoffs you are not going to last long.”
With a win, T.R. Miller will host Straughn or Bayside Academy in the state semifinals on Nov. 29.
T.R. Miller last made it to the state semifinals in 2008 when they were undefeated before losing to Cordova 40-35.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Leeds.
Here is a link to a preview of the game: