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Chief Concerns: After Craigmont defeat Trojans have two of Tennessee’s best remaining

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Trojan George Odum goes in for the tackle on Craigmont’s Walter Crutchfield Friday night at Raleigh-Egypt Stadium.

MEMPHIS — Any football coach will tell you one play doesn’t decide a game.

Friday night in Raleigh-Egypt Stadium the Craigmont Chief fans erupted when quarterback Andrew McIntyre threw a picture-perfect pass for an over-the-should catch by Khrisitan Wilkerson for a 22-yard touchdown.

The play came with 22 seconds remaining in the contest and led to an 18-13 Craigmont victory over the Millington Trojans.

“They just made plays,” Trojans Head Coach Chris Michael said. “On that drive, we had three or four opportunities to get off the field and end the game. They made plays when we didn’t.

“We blew an assignment at the end,” he acknowledged. “You throw an interception down here when you’ve got the game in control. All those things, not just the defense, the offense wasn’t good tonight either. Everybody did just enough, but it wasn’t enough. It was enough for three and eleven twelveths quarter.”

Millington trailed twice in the contest and took the lead both times. The Trojans nursed a 13-12 advantage throughout the third and most of the fourth quarter.

Before the contest got to that point, Craigmont jumped ahead 6-0 after a drive down the field to open the first quarter. The Chiefs concluded the march with a 14-yard touchdown run from running back Walter Crutchfield.

The Trojans had an answer for Craigmont’s score in the second quarter. Millington got into scoring position when freshman quarterback Eldon Tyms dropped back and hit receiver LaKeron Garcia for a big gain deep into Chief terrority.

Moments later Millington running back Antonio Webber crossed the goal line from 12 yards out to make the score 7-6 with 6 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

Two minutes later the Chiefs were back in front when Crutchfield scored his second touchdown of the night from 11 yards.

The 12-7 Craigmont lead didn’t last long. With good field position, the Trojans had another big play when Tyms located Webber with a pass to the 4 yard line. Moments later Webber scored his second TD of the game to make the tally 13-12 with 19 seconds remaining in the half.

In the third quarter both defenses neutralized the offenses. Trojans like CJ Harris, Delvin Williamson, Jonathan Patterson and George Odum made plays in the Craigmont backfield to shutdown runners.

Craigmont’s big defensive play came in the fourth quarter with 3 minutes and 13 seconds left. Chief defensive back Demicio Ewing took the ball out of the hands of Garcia in the end zone.

If the play had been ruled a touchdown, the Trojans would have lead 19-12, 20-12 or 21-12. But instead the Chiefs had one more shot at winning the game starting a drive at the 20 yard line.

McIntyre made clutch plays hitting receivers over the middle on third and fourth down. With 22 yards to go, McIntyre tossed the game-winning pass.

The Trojans left Memphis with their first District 14-3A defeat of the season. Now Millington tries to regroup against one of the best teams in the state in Jackson North Side. The Indians are unbeaten this season.

“They’ve got to come and go to work like they do every week,” Michael said of his team. “But we’ve got guys who have to buy into everything that we’ve doing. We’ve still got too many guys that are having lapses throughout the flow of the game. And it’s costing us, breakdowns on both side of the ball.

“It’s not one play that got us tonight,” he continued. “That last play would be the one everybody said got us. But it was many other plays through the flow of the game when we could have taken control. We miss a block. We drop a ball. We miss a tackle. It was a lot of things. It wasn’t just that one play.”

The game against the Indians is the last regular season home game for Millington. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with Senior Night and Homecoming scheduled.

Entering the contest with five wins and three defeats, Michael said it’s clear to see where things went wrong against Munford, Brighton and Craigmont. But he noted his team has not lived up to its full potential thus far.

“We have not played a complete 48 minutes this year,” he concluded. “Until we do, we don’t know what we’re capable of. We’ve got guys, you get a lead and you start resting on what you’ve done in the first three quarters. And you don’t keep the pressure on and executing at a high level.”

 

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