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Trojans advance with 35-14 win over Cardinals

 

Brighton receiver Bryant Conner is separated from a Brady Stewart pass by Trojans CJ Harris Friday night.

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

 

Last Saturday the Millington Trojans quickly went from hoping to make the playoff to plotting revenge.

The Class 6A State Football pairing were announced around 10 a.m. on Oct. 27. The Trojans were slated a No. 7 seed and would take on the No. 2 seeded Brighton Cardinals.

On Sept. 21 the Cardinals traveled to Millington and beat the Trojans 28-27 sparking a six game winning streak.

“We were forunate enough to get a first round wildcard bid,” Trojans Head Coach Chris Michael said. “So we were happy to have the opportunity to go out and play. Didn’t matter who it was. When Brighton popped up on it, we were excited about having another chance. The kids were excited about having another chance.”

One Trojans in particular was thrilled to have a first chance against the Cardinals. Millington senior defensive back Tevin Oliver missed the first game because of an ankle injury.

But in his return he helped lockdown Brighton’s go-to receiver Artez Harris helping Millington prevail 35-14 and advance to play the Germantown Red Devils.

“I have to give thanks to God but I can’t take any credit,” Oliver said. “The defensive line was getting after them and getting to the quarterback on our blitz. I made a promise to my team, ‘He wasn’t going to have a night like he did the first game.’”

Back in September Harris had the big night leading all receivers on the field in yards. And he caught the game-winning 47-yard touchdown.

But in the first round of the playoffs, Harris had a couple of catches and didn’t find the end zone. Oliver was attached to Harris all night freeing up the rest of the secondary to blitz and cover other Cardinal receivers.

“They’re a good football team,” Michael said of Brighton. “And they’re going to make plays. But we stayed the course. We got first downs when we need to get first downs. We made big plays offensively.

“Defense got off the field,” he added. “We gave up a couple of plays across the middle. They’re a good team and you expect them to do that. You just can’t get down. Tonight they kept fighting and they never got their heads down.”

Millington jumped out early led by freshman quarterback Eldon Tyms. On the Trojans first drive of the night Tyms connected with Lakeron Garcia for a 26-yard touchdown to make the score 7-0.

The Trojans (6-5) started another march down the Brighton Football Stadium turf in the second quarter lead by senior running back Antonio Webber.

At the 14-yard line, Webber took a handoff and broke a few tackles to reach the end zone to make the score 14-0.

With Harris in check, Cardinal senior quarterback Brady Stewart had to use other options. The two-year starter went to four-year starter Antonio Dickerson.

When Dickerson wasn’t running the ball hard between the tackles, he was coming out of the backfield catching screen passes.

Stewart hooked up with Dickerson for a 36-yard TD pass that cut Millington’s 14-0 lead in half. But the Trojans would be ahead 21-7 before the break answering Brighton’s touchdown 42 seconds later.

Webber was back on the attack. The senior running back spotted something in the Brighton defense lining up from scrimmage.

Tyms shifted Webber over to his right side and gave him the ball for a 51-yard touchdown run.

In the second half Brighton (7-4) scored after recovering at fumble at the 30-yard line. A few plays later Cardinal Blue Currie crossed the goal line to make the score 21-14.

But that was the closest the Cardinals would get. Just seconds later Millington freshman signal caller Tyms dropped back and threw a bomb into the hands of George Odum for a 40-yard touchdown.

Then it was the Trojans’ defense that put the cherry on top of this playoff victory when Patrick Macon made an interception. The linebacker raced down the short field for the touchdown that made the score 35-14.

Macon was the only Trojan defender making big plays to neutralize the Cardinals. He was joined by CJ Harris, Johnathan Patterson, Earl King, Angelo Pirtle and Joshua Taylor in making big plays in the secondary. On the defensive line players like Jesse Mangrum control the line of scrimmage most of the night.

“Finally, we finally captialized off a chance we got,” Oliver said. “We got a second chance and like our coaches told us this doesn’t happen to every team. We took advantage of it and came out and got the W.”

The Trojans move on to Round Two to face the Red Devils. Germantown beat the Bolton Wildcats to advance. The Red Devils will host Millington this Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“We’re going to have to get that defensive mentality that we had today,” Oliver said. “And put the black helmet on, don’t talk. We’re just going to stop the run.”

Michael said it won’t be that simple. The 8-3 Red Devils used a running attack with multiple opitons coming at the defense at one time.

“It will be a hard-work week,” he said. “We’ll go into what we’ve seen most all year with spread offenses. Good running back and good quarterbacks and you’re scheming to be able to stop run and stop pass.

“No different this week,” Michael concluded. “We’re going to have an option attack. It’s going to be responsibility football. It will be a tough week for us. We’ll have to put our noses to the grindstone and teach these kids as best as we can. They’ll be ready to play. It’s up to us as a staff to get them prepared for what they’re going to see since we haven’t seen anything like it all year.”

 

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