LEEDS – The Tigers of T.R. Miller made the trek up from Brewton to the Birmingham area for a second straight week after bouncing Midfield from the AHSAA Class 3A playoffs last week. With them, the 12-0 Tigers brought a proud tradition, and some proud fans, too. You know those chair backed seats at high school stadiums normally reserved for the home team’s booster club members? Not Friday.
The Tiger fans arrived early and claimed them all. That didn’t help, though, as Leeds (11-2) upset the visitors, 24-20, behind a pair of sophomore stars.
To the categories:
SENIORS WHO SHINED: T.R. Miller tailback Dominique Jackson (6-1, 200) ran 13 times for 135 yards and a score to end his career with a bang. He also plays linebacker, and hosts a West Alabama offer. (At least he did before coach Will Hall departed for West Georgia earlier this week.)
For the Green Wave, Defensive back Jabari Rogers had an interception and a big tackle on a fourth down play to thwart two separate Tiger drives.
JUNIORS TO WATCH: Minor transfer Tyler “Tank” Wright doesn’t start, but he’s part of a one-two punch Leeds throws at its opponents early and often. He looked especially dominant on a 28-yard touchdown run with 5:08 left to give his team a 10-point lead, shedding tacklers along the way. He’s one of two 1,000-yard rushers in the Leeds backfield.
For the Tigers, McHenry Coleman (5-9, 170) is a standout in the secondary.
SUPER SOPHS: The other 1,000-yard plus man in the Leeds backfield is young Tre Nation. He is already 6-0, 195, but looks like Derrick Henry against 3A competition. “He’s had an unbelievable year,” said Green Wave Coach Keith Etheridge of the 16 year old. “He’s got over 1,500 yards, and he had over 1,900 last year (as a ninth-grader). He runs north/south, takes care of the football, and he’s a grinder. He really steps up in big games.”
On this night, splitting carries with Wright, Nation piled up 114 yards on 20 totes. He very rarely goes down on initial contact. “(Nation) can move around good to be so big,” said Tigers Coach Jamie Riggs. “He runs through a lot of tackles. He’s powerful, and very impressive.”
Nation plays with one of the top tenth grade signal-callers around, Tadarryll “TD” Marshall, who ran for 18 yards and threw for 70 on 5-of-11 passing. The ball was damp, which affected the 6-0, 150-pound Marshall, plus Etheridge elected to keep the ball mostly on the ground. That’s not due to a lack of trust in his young quarterback. “To be a sophomore with 26 games started already, we put a lot on him and he responds,” said the coach. “He’s great at running and throwing, and he makes checks at the line. He controls the offense. He’s got the complete package.”
HOW ‘BOUT THEM BURGERS: Suffice it to say Briarwood is still the Birmingham area champ. The Leeds edition was cooked so well it was sort of crispy.
NEXT UP: FNL will take off a week due to Thanksgiving, but be right back for the 6A Finals at the Super Six in Bryant-Denny Stadium. That game features the winner of the Vestavia at Hoover game vs. the winner of the Auburn High/McGill-Toolen matchup. (The feeling here is Hoover will be there, and FNL can update the progress of Marlon Humphrey and his talented underclassmen teammates.)