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   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.






Dynasties 


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          One of the most difficult teams to clearly define as a dynasty has to be the T.R. Miller Tigers. The problem is they have been so very good for so long. The most appropriate thing to do is just combine all the teams from 1984-2002. During this time the Tigers appeared in a total of ten state championship games winning five. Their overall record was 211-44 with a playoff record of 61-14.

          The football fans in Brewton have always supported either T.R. Miller or W.S. Neal. The two teams meet annually in what has been known as 'The Battle of Murder Creek'. The creek divides east Brewton from Brewton and Neal from Miller. It seems everyone in Brewton supports one team or the other. Although Miller has dominated the series for many years it does not take away from one of the best rivalries in the state.

          T.R. Miller takes its name from a local lumber magnate that was a major employer in the small town. The school first fielded a football team in 1926 and is the winningest program in high school football history in Alabama with 638 wins.



T.R. Miller Coach Jamie Riggs
(courtesy Adam Robinson)

          Three coaches, Mike Sasser, Joel Williams and Jamie Riggs, roamed the sidelines for the Tigers during their title runs. Coach Sasser led the Tigers to their second title in school history in 1984 to lay the framework for the years to come. He stepped down after the 1986 season and was succeeded by well-travel coach Joel Williams who guided the team to a combined 18-5 record and two playoff spots in 1987-88.

          Following three seasons at Opp, Coach Riggs came home to T.R. Miller in 1989. Few if any coaches in high school football history covering the past 100 years can match the accomplishments of Coach Riggs. Since his arrival in Brewton, the Tigers have won more games than any other program. Over the past 25 seasons the Tigers have won 273 games. That is almost an average of eleven wins a year.

          During the 1990s his Tigers won 117 games, more than any other team in the state. His teams also won 27 consecutive games from 1994-95. Every team during his tenure at Miller has qualified for the state playoffs. His teams have never been shutout and hold the state record for consecutive games scoring at 342. Over the past thirty seasons the Tigers have averaged scoring over 40 points a game.

          The Tigers have reached the semi-finals of the playoffs in fourteen of his seasons as the head coach, winning four state championships along the way. Seventeen of his twenty-four teams have won at least ten games.

1984 - (12-3)  The Tigers got off to a slow start to the season with losses to Jackson, Monroe County and Escambia County. After the 2-3 start they settled down and reeled off nine straight wins to advance to the Class 4A state championship game. The Tigers traveled to Centre to play a strong Cherokee County team for the title.

           Kevin Ladnier hit James Weaver on a 21 yard touchdown pass with 49 seconds remaining in the game as T.R. Miller defeated Cherokee County to capture the Class 4A state championship. Cherokee County had jumped out to a 12-0 lead at halftime but the Tigers clawed their way back into the game eventually winning by a score of 20-18.

           Lineman Dewayne Hammac and linebacker Michael Herbert led the defense while sophomore Joseph Williams led the Tiger rushing attack from his running back position.

1986 - (12-2)  After opening the season with a 20-15 loss to Andalusia, the Tigers won the next twelve games in route to their second title game appearance in three years. They met Litchfield at home for the 4A championship. Miller led early in the fourth quarter but saw the lead slip away with two late scores by Litchfield. The final score was 23-14 in favor of Litchfield.

           Senior Joseph Williams was named to the all-state team as a running back along with Jeffery Hall on the offensive line. Keith Megginson handled the quarterbacking duties for the Tigers.

1990 - (13-1)  Coach Jamie Riggs enters his second season with the Tigers as they rolled through their first undefeated regular season since 1969 with a 9-0 record. After winning four close playoff games they arrived at the 4A championship game against a very talented 14-0 Deshler team on the road. Deshler entered the game as the highest scoring team in the history of high school football in the state. They had already put up 575 points in their first fourteen games of the season.

           In the first half of the title game, it was all T.R. Miller as the defense held Deshler to one first down and 33 total yards. Meanwhile, the Tigers racked up 11 first downs and 182 yards to take a commanding 14-0 halftime lead. The second half proved to be very different as Deshler mounted a comeback by scoring 28 points and won the game on a missed conversion try in overtime.

           Deshler had tied the game with three seconds remaining in regulation on a three yard pass from Scott Thompson to Doug Garrett. Patrick Smith bulled his way for the two point conversion to tie the game. Garrett scored on the second play of overtime and Kyle McKinney kicked the extra point to seal the win. T.R. Miller scored on the first play of overtime on their possession but the point after was just wide and the championship belonged to Deshler.

           Ron Gibson rushed for 2,281 yards to lead the Miller attack. The line was anchored by Chris Crutchfield and Robin Hines.

1991 - (14-0)  The 1991 team finished with a 14-0 record and Coach Riggs' first championship with a 46-6 thrashing of Deshler in the title game. There were some close calls for the Tigers during the season. They defeated Escambia County 7-6 and W.S. Neal 7-0 to protect the undefeated season.

           T.R. Miller claimed not only their first undefeated season since 1969 but their third state championship by defeating Deshler. It was a rematch of the 1991 title game with very different results. Unlike last year when the Tigers blew a 14-0 lead only to lose in overtime 28-27, Miller built a 20-6 halftime lead and then continued to dominate in the second half when a 76 yard bomb from Samuel to Tim Pettis opened the game up and gave Miller a 27-6 lead.

          James Fountain led the way with 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Miller amassed a total of 501 yards and 21 first downs on the evening. Samuel finished the night with 151 yards passing by completing 7 of 17 passes. The Tigers also put a stop to the Deshler 28 game winning streak.

          Gerald Thomas and Dusty Devers were standouts from their linemen positions. Willie Smith was chosen as a first team all-state player.

1994 - (15-0)  The best team of these nineteen may have been the 1994 team which finished with a perfect 15-0 record and a state title. This Tiger team outscored their opponents 453-102 and were only tested once, against Clarke County, during the regular season.

          In the title game, Benny Campbell rushed for 131 yards to lead T.R. Miller over Cleburne County. The Tiger's defense held Cleburne County to 67 yards on the ground and 150 total yards. The Miller offense shredded the Cleburne County defense for 336 total yards. The 27-6 victory produced the fourth state championship for the Tigers.

          John Hart led the offense from his quarterback position along with receiver Scott Sasser. The defense was led by linebacker Carlos Montgomery and back Tim Grant.

1995 - (13-1)  T.R. Miller's 28 game winning streak was snapped as Alexandria claimed their first state title since 1985. The Valley cubs pounded the Tiger's defense with a running game led by Mac Campbell's 224 yard performance. Alexandria pilled up 360 yards of total of total offense against a Miller team that had not lost since the playoffs in 1993. Campbell's 5 yard touchdown run with 9:02 remaining in the game proved to be the game winner as Alexandria claimed an 18-13 win.

           The Tigers would get the ball back only once more on its ensuing possession but were stopped short on the Alexandria 45 yard line on a fourth and one play. Alexandria ran the remaining 6:18 off the clock to seal the victory and the championship behind the running of Campbell and fullback Leon Crook.

           Tristen Moore, Phillip Henderson were standout players on the line for the Tigers. The offense was led by quarterback Scott Sasser. Other all-state players included kicker Jason Madden and linebacker Shawn Johnson.

1996 - (13-2)  The Tigers won their first nine games before falling to arch-rival W.S. Neal 37-14 in the regular season's finale game. Miller led 14-6 entering the fourth quarter before seeing the game slip away. The loss was the first to their rival since 1985. Miller got its revenge in the semi-finals of the playoffs when they beat Neal 16-14 to advance to the state championship game for the third year in a row.

           In the Class 3A title game, Fayette County capitalized on T.R. Miller mistakes to win the game 25-7 in the first Super Six Championship game played in Birmingham. MVP Luke Tucker completed 10 of 21 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown to lead Fayette County to the state championship. Sam Collins caught 6 of those passes for 93 yards. Six turnovers by T.R. Miller proved to be the difference in an otherwise close game. The game was played in a thick fog that made viewing the game difficult at Legion Field.

           Ashley Kiser, a 5'10" 185 pound senior rushed for over 1,200 yards to lead the Tigers rushing attack. The defense was led by junior linebacker Antonio Johnson and lineman Jason Jones. 

1998 - (11-4) Following an up and down regular season the Tigers found their stride as the playoffs began. During the season the Tigers lost to area champs St. Paul's 56-36 but had another chance at the Saints in the semi-finals of the playoffs. The Tigers shut down the Saints and won 21-7 setting up another battle with Deshler in the Super Six championship game. In the title game, Deshler broke open a close game in the second half with two scores by Michael Owens to win by a score of 34-6.

           Quarterback Garrett Akridge completed 86 of 173 passes for 1,646 yards and eleven touchdowns in leading the Tigers to the 4A championship game. Chris Travis rushed for 1,341 yards on 155 carries and 11 TDs. The backfield trio of Chris Travis, Brandon Longs and William Deere combined for over 2,700 yards rushing but were held to a total of only 69 yards in the loss to Deshler at Legion Field in Birmingham.

           Daniel Wilson and Andre Preyer were standout players along the line of scrimmage. Defensive back Wes Bradley had 140 tackles and seven interceptions on the season.

2000 - (13-2)  Following a couple of close midseason losses to UMS-Wright and Clarke County, the Tigers found their stride late in the season and rolled into the 4A championship game with a 12-2 record.

           Coach Riggs' third title came in 2000 with a 28-9 victory over Fayette County High School. Rayvon Howard ran for 288 yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns to lead T.R. Miller in the title game. The win gave the Tigers their fifth overall state title since 1969. The Tiger's defense was able to hold off rallies by Spencer Pennington by stopping the Tigers three times on fourth down attempts, twice inside the 20 yard line.

            Pennington was able to complete 18 of 40 passes for 205 yards but was sacked three times by the blitzing Miller defense. Fayette County drew close when Pennington threw a 33 yard pass to Adam Brand to close within 14-9 with five minutes remaining in the game. But, Howard took control from there scoring on two long runs of 53 and 62 yards.

            Rayvon Howard rushed for 1,486 yards and scored 32 touchdowns his senior season at T.R. Miller. He also racked up 124 tackles on defense. Kicker and punter, Patrick Byrne scored 256 points during his career at T.R. Miller. He also kicked 202 extra points in his career, second most in state history. Blake Davis and Brian Beckham anchored the defense as all-state players.

2002 - (11-3)  For the second time in three years the Tigers reached the championship game without winning their region. During the regular season they lost to region foes Straughn and Pike County to finish third in Class 3A Region one. As usual the Tigers got hot when playoff time rolled around. They eased into the championship game against 3A powerhouse Colbert County.

            The Tigers won a fourth championship under the direction of Coach Riggs in 2002 with a 38-6 win over Colbert County and an 11-3 record. Brad Lannon threw three touchdown passes as Miller built a 17-0 halftime lead and scored three more touchdowns in the third quarter to put the Indians away. Lannon completed 7 of 8 passes for 140 yards to lead the Miller attack.


The 2002 State Champions Celebrate

         The defense was led by linebacker Quentin Galloway and defensive back Antonio Gomez. Lineman Kendrick Deere and tight end Trent Davidson led the offense.



          These nineteen teams won twelve region championships. Only three of the teams failed to make it to the third round of the playoffs. Jamie Riggs is the coach with the most playoff wins in state football history with an overall playoff record of 66-22 at Opp and T.R. Miller.    

         Overall it is difficult to argue the fact that T.R. Miller has sustained a tradition of winning over the past thirty years. Other teams may have won more titles but none have been able to maintain such a high winning standard as the Tigers.



T.R. Miller     1984-2002                 
Year Record Championship Game
1984 12-3 T.R. Miller 20-18 Cherokee County
1985 8-4  
1986 12-2 Litchfield 23-14 T.R. Miller
1987 8-3  
1988 10-2  
1989 8-4  
1990 13-1 Deshler 28-27 T.R. Miller (OT)
1991 14-0 T.R. Miller 46-6 Deshler
1992 9-2  
1993 9-4  
1994 15-0 T.R. Miller 27-6 Cleburne County
1995 13-1 Alexandria 18-13 T.R. Miller
1996 13-2 Fayette County 25-7 T.R. Miller
1997 12-2  
1998 11-4 Deshler 34-6 T.R. Miller
1999 8-3  
2000 13-2 T.R. Miller 28-9 Fayette County
2001 12-2  
2002 11-3 T.R. Miller 38-6 Colbert County


T.R. Miller
1984

20 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 26
43 Thomasville . . . . . . . 27
2 Monroe County . . . . . 20
15 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 3
14 Escambia County . . . . 35
31 McIntosh . . . . . . . . . . 6
25 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
35 Evergreen . . . . . . . . . 6
29 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
27 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
33 Keith * . . . . . . . . . . . 22
23 UMS-Wright * . . . . . . 17
31 Pike County * . . . . . 6
17 Tallassee * . . . . . . . 7
20 Cherokee County # . . . 18

365 12-3 207
1985

36 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 0
30 Thomasville . . . . . . . 21
7 Monroe County . . . . . 6
14 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 13
16 Escambia County . . . . 25
42 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
28 Evergreen . . . . . . . . . 8
6 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
3 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 6
7 Thomasville * . . . . . 6
14 Alba * . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
21 Elba * . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

224 8-4 137
1986

15 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 20
25 Thomasville . . . . . . . 21
27 Monroe County . . . . . 9
14 Escambia County . . . . 0
27 Clarke County . . . . . 0
30 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
53 Evergreen . . . . . . . . . 0
6 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
47 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
46 Central Hayneville * . 16
34 Alba * . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
13 Geneva * . . . . . . . . . . 12
31 Lanett * . . . . . . . . . . 7
14 Litchfield # . . . . . . 23

382 12-2 122
1987

7 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 14
6 Thomasville . . . . . . . 20
40 Monroe County . . . . . 14
21 Escambia County . . . . 6
27 Clarke County . . . . . 0
38 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
51 Evergreen . . . . . . . . . 0
21 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
17 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 13
27 Keith * . . . . . . . . . . . 6
0 Lanett * . . . . . . . . . . 10

255 8-3 97
1988

15 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 29
20 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 15
17 Monroe County . . . . . 0
39 Escambia County . . . . 30
38 Clarke County . . . . . 12
21 Pace FL . . . . . . . . . . . 15
42 Evergreen . . . . . . . . . 14
35 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 14
13 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 7
45 Central Hayneville * . 14
20 Headland * . . . . . . . . 14
21 Pike County * . . . . . 39

326 10-2 203
1989

6 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 9
6 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 20
20 Monroe County . . . . . 22
27 Escambia County . . . . 21
32 Clarke County . . . . . 6
38 Pace FL . . . . . . . . . . . 7
19 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 10
19 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 0
19 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 6
41 Calhoun * . . . . . . . . . 8
40 Abbeville * . . . . . . . 14
17 Pike County * . . . . . 28

284 8-4 151
1990

36 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 13
13 Daphne . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
28 Monroe County . . . . . 7
49 Washington County . . . 22
22 Escambia County . . . . 20
31 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
27 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 0
28 Woodham FL . . . . . . . . 17
42 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 14
33 Clarke County * . . . . 27
27 Daleville * . . . . . . . 21
14 Pike County * . . . . . 12
35 B.B. Comer * . . . . . . 22
27 Deshler # . . . . . . . . . 28

412 13-1 211
1991

23 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 0
14 Daphne . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
34 Monroe County . . . . . 9
50 Washington County . . . 7
7 Escambia County . . . . 6
31 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
29 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 19
30 Woodham FL . . . . . . . . 0
7 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
30 Clarke County * . . . . 6
16 Daleville * . . . . . . . 14
36 Pike County * . . . . . 22
39 Handley * . . . . . . . . . 20
46 Deshler # . . . . . . . . . 6

392 14-0 109
1992

20 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 13
25 Thomasville . . . . . . . 28
40 Grand Bay . . . . . . . . . 0
35 Monroe County . . . . . 20
27 Escambia County . . . . 23
46 Clarke County . . . . . 6
21 Elba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
37 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
14 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
34 Clarke County * . . . . 20
9 Daleville * . . . . . . . 20

308 9-2 164
1993

14 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 0
45 Thomasville . . . . . . . 18
51 Grand Bay . . . . . . . . . 13
22 Monroe County . . . . . 21
13 Escambia County . . . . 33
9 Pace FL . . . . . . . . . . . 19
24 Clarke County . . . . . 6
7 Elba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
7 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
20 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 13
41 Clarke County * . . . . 12
26 Lanett * . . . . . . . . . . 6
7 Pike County * . . . . . 15

286 9-4 166
1994

36 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 8
34 Elba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
24 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 12
38 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
35 Escambia County . . . . 12
26 Pace FL . . . . . . . . . . . 0
26 Grand Bay . . . . . . . . . 0
43 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 0
13 Clarke County . . . . . 8
33 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
24 Daleville * . . . . . . . 14
33 Abbeville * . . . . . . . 6
48 Clarke County * . . . . 15
13 Lanett * . . . . . . . . . . 7
27 Cleburne County # . . . 6

453 15-0 102
1995

42 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 23
28 Elba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
24 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 0
37 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
38 Escambia County . . . . 7
48 Grand Bay . . . . . . . . . 20
28 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 0
27 Clarke County . . . . . 14
18 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 14
35 Ashford * . . . . . . . . . 13
38 Beauregard * . . . . . . 27
37 Greensboro * . . . . . . 0
34 W.S. Neal * . . . . . . . 14
13 Alexandria # . . . . . . 18

447 13-1 176
1996

42 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 23
42 Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
27 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 6
33 Monroe County . . . . . 10
48 Escambia County . . . . 7
42 St. Pauls . . . . . . . . . 7
46 Grand Bay . . . . . . . . . 8
41 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 14
38 Clarke County . . . . . 14
14 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 36
54 Handley * . . . . . . . . . 20
39 Tallassee * . . . . . . . 13
28 Greensboro * . . . . . . 12
16 W.S. Neal * . . . . . . . 14
7 Fayette County # . . . 25

517 13-2 223
1997

41 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 0
52 Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
25 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 12
41 Monroe County . . . . . 13
34 Escambia County . . . . 14
42 St. Pauls . . . . . . . . . 29
42 Grand Bay . . . . . . . . . 6
13 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 21
7 Clarke County . . . . . 6
17 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 14
21 Dallas County * . . . . 12
15 Dale County * . . . . . 6
11 Handley * . . . . . . . . . 8
28 Greensboro * . . . . . . 36

389 12-2 204
1998

12 Clarke County . . . . . 14
17 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 14
49 Daleville . . . . . . . . . 20
35 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 0
36 Escambia County . . . . 23
36 St. Pauls . . . . . . . . . 56
41 Monroe County . . . . . 12
27 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 7
14 Alma Bryant . . . . . . . 49
38 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 7
42 Handley * . . . . . . . . . 21
37 Tallassee * . . . . . . . 8
38 Thomasville * . . . . . 7
21 St. Pauls * . . . . . . . 7
6 Deshler # . . . . . . . . . 34

449 11-4 279
1999

27 Clarke County . . . . . 8
21 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 20
26 Daleville . . . . . . . . . 16
27 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 19
42 Escambia County . . . . 7
7 St. Pauls . . . . . . . . . 33
37 Monroe County . . . . . 6
28 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 12
10 Alma Bryant . . . . . . . 28
49 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
19 Jemison * . . . . . . . . . 20

293 8-3 169
2000

27 Escambia County . . . . 0
46 Monroe County . . . . . 12
30 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 13
34 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 14
38 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 21
14 Clarke County . . . . . 22
14 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 20
45 Thomasville . . . . . . . 7
49 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
21 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 7
49 Dallas County * . . . . 14
27 Central Coosa * . . . . 7
21 Geneva * . . . . . . . . . . 7
49 Trinity * . . . . . . . . . 10
28 Fayette County # . . . 9

492 13-2 171
2001

42 Escambia County . . . . 20
40 Monroe County . . . . . 8
48 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 21
36 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 14
34 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 8
49 Clarke County . . . . . 24
7 UMS-Wright . . . . . . . . 20
35 Thomasville . . . . . . . 14
34 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
28 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 0
50 St. James * . . . . . . . 27
36 Bibb County * . . . . . 14
34 Dale County * . . . . . 7
7 UMS-Wright * . . . . . . 33

480 12-2 226
2002

44 Escambia County . . . . 20
26 Straughn . . . . . . . . . . 27
21 Clarke County . . . . . 0
56 Calhoun . . . . . . . . . . . 8
31 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 35
27 Elba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
48 Central Hayneville . . 12
13 Pike County . . . . . . . 19
39 W.S. Neal . . . . . . . . . 6
35 Dadeville * . . . . . . . 0
35 Tarrant * . . . . . . . . . 0
35 Springville * . . . . . 21
14 Montgomery Academy * . 12
38 Colbert County # . . . 6

462 11-3 175

* Playoff game
# State championship game




          NEXT: Sidney Lanier Poets 1961-1968
          The Dynasties, a series of articles on Alabama high school football's best teams.


David Parker
  AHSFHS.org
  dparker@ahsfhs.org


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Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

Spence McCracken won a record 21 Area/Region Championships at Montgomery Academy, Lee Montgomery and Opelika during his coaching career.