Bulldogs fall to No. 1 Tigers

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

T.R. Miller is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A for a reason - they're good.

The T.R. Miller Tigers (5-0) showed just how good of a football team they are with a 43-22 win against the Class 4A Andalusia Bulldogs (1-4) last night.

The Tigers used a few more passing plays than usual to take an early lead en route to a victory. T.R. Miller Head Coach Jamie Riggs said he expected the Bulldogs to have a defensive scheme aimed at stopping the run and made a few adjustments.

"I was pleased with us," Riggs said after the game. "We knew they would put a lot of people in there to try and stop the run."

The Tigers received the opening kickoff and went 61 yards on four plays for a touchdown to go on top 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.

The drive began with senior quarterback Brad Lannom finding Antonio Gomez for a six-yard gain. The next play was a handoff to Skylar Fountain for 16 yards. Lannom returned to the air on the third play of the drive and found senior Michael Jones for a 14-yard pick up.

The final play of the drive covered 25 yards when Lannom connected with Gomez. Joseph Turner's PAT was good and the Tigers were on top 7-0 with 10:09 remaining in the first quarter.

Andalusia scored on its second possession of the game and then took the lead by converting a two-point play. The four-play scoring drive was capped off by a big play.

Wesley Liles scored on a 76-yard run with 5:29 remaining in the first period. Senior quarterback C.T. Eldridge found an open Jerome Tomberlin on a pass play for the two-point conversion and an 8-7 lead.

Andalusia's defense then held the Tigers forcing a punt. Neal Patterson returned the punt for a touchdown, but the score was erased by an illegal block penalty. Andalusia's offense did not take advantage of good field position gaining just one yard on three plays after starting at the Tigers' 32-yard line. The Bulldogs went for it on fourth down and were denied via an incomplete pass.

The Tigers took over possession of the ball and scored on just their second play when sophomore Nick Puryear took a pitch on an option play to the left and raced 69 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers went for two and converted when quarterback Antonio Gomez scored on a running play. The score gave the lead back to the Tigers by a count of 15-8 with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tigers added to the lead with 10:27 left in the second quarter when Tim Atcher scored on an 11-yard run up the middle. Turner's PAT was good and T.R. Miller held a 22-8 lead.

A one-play drive gave the Tigers a larger lead as Fountain scored on a 59-yard run. Turner's PAT was true and the Tigers were on top 29-8 with 2:12 remaining in the first half.

T.R. Miller scored on its first possession of the second half for a 36-8 lead. Gomez scored on a one-yard run to cap off a six-play drive. Turner's kick was good and the Tigers held a 36-8 advantage.

The Tigers' defense added another touchdown when Damien Jackson gobbled up a fumbled pitch on the bounce and raced about 40 yards for a touchdown. Turner ran out and kicked the PAT for a 43-8 lead with 4:58 remaining in the third.

Andalusia scored twice in the fourth quarter. Jared McNeil scored when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. Michael Dutton caused the fumble by blitzing through T.R. Miller's offensive line and hitting the ball carrier almost before he got the handoff. Eldridge completed a pass to Neal Patterson for a two-point conversion to make the score 43-16.

Andalusia's other score came on the final play of the game when Eldridge found Patterson for a 25-yard strike.

Andalusia Head Coach Tom Causey was not pleased after the game.

"We didn't play very good football tonight," Causey said. "We played a very good football team that came out ready to play tonight.

"We didn't execute," he added. "We couldn't put a drive together and we couldn't stop them."

The Bulldogs will be at home again next week for a region game against the Jackson Aggies. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.