Tigers threegame stretch could be treacherous

BILL MARTIN

Jeff Miller’s mantra of playing anybody, anyplace anytime will be put to the test over the next three weeks as his Tigers take on three very scary teams.

Big Blue kicked off the season with an impressive 47-21 victory over a Salado team that is trying to work out some kinks under a new coach.

If not for some sloppy defensive play and the fact that Miller emptied his bench, it could have been worse.

“The defense did a great job of shutting them down,” Miller said, “minus a couple of big plays.”

The Tigers are staring into the abyss of battling and up-and-coming Burnet, a champion in Cameron and an always scary Liberty Hill.

Burnet and Liberty Hill are on the road. The Battle of the Bell will be fought at Tigerland Field.

You could throw Smithville into the mix to make it four, despite the fact that these Tigers don’t have any football tradition, they are on a twoyear run that has invigorated the program, including two unprecedented wins over the Blue and Gold Tigers.

“This three-game stretch is the toughest we’ve had in a while,” Miller said.

Burnet and Liberty Hill share District 8-3A and to prove how much the Bulldogs have improved, they are expected to battle perennial power Brownwood for the league crown.

“When we beat them last season, it was their second week with a new quarterback and a new coach,” Miller said. “They didn’t have a lot of experience. It’ll be a little different this time, but we’ll be up for the challenge.”

Poor Liberty Hill, who hasn’t won state in a couple of years, is picked third.

The Panthers actually missed the playoffs in 2012 with a 6-4 mark.

Rockdale was impressive in the opener under new quarterback Clayton Gibbs who was cool under pressure and amassed over 250 yards of total offense.

And while Austin Caffey became the Tigers’ all-time leader in catching passes, it was Pudgie Burgess who emerged as a real threat as a receiver with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in which he had to drag his defender into the end zone.

“We said before, we like to get him out there where he can use his speed and his moves and create some yardage and he did a great job,” said Miller.

As usual, Caffey was a steady presence over the middle and grabbed up an 18-yard pass over the middle for a touchdown to close out the first quarter scoring.

“He’s a very reliable receiver, that’s always been his strength,” Miller said. “Both quarterbacks he’s played with trust him a lot.”

It’s obvious that the Tigers will have no off plays when it comes to their running attack, with two-headed monster Elijah Brooks and a healthy Dailynn Ramey who combined for 182 yards and three scores.

So if you’re a Tiger football fan or just a football fan at large, the next few weeks should provide enough competition and anticipation.

The 5ive

Here is a list of the five largest season opening wins by Rockdale:
1. Copperas Cove—61-0, 1976.
2. Austin Eastside—58-0, 2010.
3. Copperas Cove—52-0, 1974.
4. Smithville—50-0, 1985
5. (tie) Salado—47-0, 2013 Brenham—47-0, 1967 Thorndale—47-0, 1925


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