Three questions for WSN and TRM football for 2014 season
Published 1:53 pm Friday, July 25, 2014
As I wrote in my column in Wednesday’s paper, we are less than one month from the start of the 2014 football season.
Fall practice will begin Monday, Aug. 4, for both T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal as well as other football teams from around the state. The first games for T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal will be Friday, Aug. 22. The Tigers of T.R. Miller will travel to Andalusia while W.S. Neal will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., to play Bishop Snyder High School.
While the season is almost here, here are three questions our teams will need to answer for the upcoming season:
1. 4(A) better or 4(A) worse?
The last few seasons, W.S. Neal has been competing in class 3A. With the recent reclassification, W.S. Neal was bumped up to 4A. Just for the record, W.S. Neal is the smallest 4A school in the state according to numbers released during the reclassification count.
The last time W.S. Neal was in class 4A was 2006-2011. During that time, W.S. Neal went 21-42 in those six years. The Eagles went 10-2 in 2006; 6-5 in 2007; 2-8 in both 2008 and 2009; 0-10 in 2010; and 1-9 in 2011?
Will the move to 4A this year help or hurt W.S. Neal?
Last year, W.S. Neal went 5-5. The Eagles started the year 3-2, but went 2-3 in the second half of the season. Injuries plagued the Eagles of East Brewton majorly last year.
W.S. Neal played in four games last year without six starters. They didn’t play in one game last year without all of their 22 starters from the spring.
3. Can Quenton Samuels carry the Eagles?
Samuels was just about all the Eagles had on offense last season. He rushed for 209 attempts and had 2,079 yards of W.S. Neal’s 3,301 total. Samuels scored 22 of W.S. Neal’s 37 rushing touchdowns last season.
1. Can T.R. Miller replace three key players on offense from 2013 team?
T.R. Miller lost offensive backs Dominique Jackson, Kameron Coleman and quarterback Kieon Smith from the 2013 team. Jackson had 146 carries for 1,528 yards and 25 touchdowns while Coleman had 82 carries for 645 yards and eight touchdowns. Smith had 58 carries for 379 yards and also had eight scores. Passing, Smith was 45-for-84 last season with 926 yards, two interceptions and 12 touchdowns. Coleman had 14 catches for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
Overall last season, T.R. Miller had 548 carries for 4,196 yards and 61 touchdowns. Jackson, Coleman, and Smith accounted for 286 of those carries, 2,552 yards and 41 of those touchdowns.
2. Can T.R. Miller make it back to the ‘ship?
The last time T.R. Miller played for the state championship was in 2002. The Tigers won the title that year for their last championship. It has now been 11 years. During that time, T.R. Miller has reached four semifinals, one quarterfinals, five second round games, and one first round game. The last time T.R. Miller reached the semifinals was in 2008. Can the Tigers make a run at another title?
3. Will this be head coach Jamie Riggs’ final season?
Many have asked me this question and I don’t know the answer. The last time I approached coach Riggs about this was in 2008. That was his 20th season and he said he would go as long as he could, but it depended on his health. That was six years ago and he is now entering his 26th season as head coach at T.R. Miller and 29th overall. He is 273-57 at T.R. Miller during that time and 285-76 overall.
When asked if I knew when he would leave, I have always told folks it will be interesting to see how many apply for the job, who gets hired and what happens to the program once he is gone? Some say it will be like when Bear Bryant left Alabama.
Only time will tell.
Until we meet again here or out in the world of sports, God bless.