Devils hope to end 15-year drought

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
There are many people in Escambia County that say the T.R. Miller Tigers are not that good this year. This opinion seems to be based on the 36-7 shellacking Class 3A Clarke County put on the 4A Tigers in week one.
One person who does not buy into all the hype is Escambia County High School head football coach Kyle Davis.
"We have been hearing people say 'Oh Miller is not that good this year,'" Davis said. "But coach (Jamie) Riggs will have his guys ready to go on Friday. He always has a well disciplined team and it has been 15 years since Atmore has beaten Miller and they are not just going to give us the game."
Davis said there will be one part of game preparation that will be extremely easy.
"The first thing any coach has to do is keep his kids motivated to play," Davis said. "And those 15 years are motivation enough. So I know I don't have to worry about getting them emotionally ready for this game."
The Blue Devils will have another form of motivation to win the game, as if 15 years of futility was not enough.
"The winner of this game is in the driver's seat as far as region games go," Davis said. "We are 2-0 and 1-0 in the region and we want to keep that going."
But the Devils will not change the way they play the game for the Miller game.
"We just need to be focused on doing what we do best," Davis said. "And that is play great defense. Our defense has been consistently dominant all year and especially against the run. These guys are playing so physical and hitting people hard."
The play of the offense is a definite key to the game, according to Davis.
"Our offense has improved in our three games this year in the preseason and the regular season," he said. "We have gone from 0 to 12 to 20 points. If we can cut down on the penalties and the mental mistakes we should have a good chance to win this game."
But to win the game, Davis said one thing will have to happen.
"We will have to stop their running game," he said. "Cortez Banks and Matt Lane are their two runners who we have seen run the ball with success. We also don't know who we will see at quarterback because John Mathieu has started both their games, but Wil Riggs has also played in both games.
Davis said the linebacker duo of Will Waters and Mabry Cook would be the Tigers' main avenue of defense against the run.
"We need to make the most of every opportunity on offense and we need to step it up and continue improving," Davis said. "And if the defense can keep doing what it has been doing we should be all right. This is probably the best defensive football team I have ever coached in my eight years as a coach."
The Devils have come through in the clutch in the first two games of the season. They scored the go-ahead touchdown when Alabama Christian Academy held an 8-6 lead in the first week and they scored the go-ahead touchdown to break a 13-13 tie with W.S. Neal last week. Davis said he hopes his offense doesn't have to be clutch this week.
"It is promising that these guys can score when they need to," he said. "But we want to score as many times as we can and not have to come up with that clutch performance at the end of the game."
The Devils will go for their first win over T.R. Miller since 1992 at 7 p.m. in Brewton.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox