By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Fresh off maybe their best 70 minutes of the season, the Millington Trojans returned home to face District 14-3A rivals Craigmont.
On April 15, Millington took on the District powerhouse Arlington Tigers. And for 71 minutes, the Trojans and goalie Kevin Reilly kept the Tigers scoreless. But Arlington finally found a way to score a goal and added two more late to win 3-0.
Millington Head Coach Larry Dagen had the challenge of getting his players to regroup for the following day to take on the Chiefs.
“We have to play a full 80 minutes and today we didn’t start off to well early,” Dagen acknowledge after the Craigmont game. “But we got it rolling late in the first half and started passing the ball beautifully.”
The Millington passing game help build a 3-1 advantage by halftime. And Trojan senior BrendonVan Emelen added another goal late in the second half to help Millington prevail 4-2.
“Yesterday we played and matched Arlington for the first 70 minutes,” Dagen recalled. “The guys were outstanding. And Arlington finally scores and adds a couple of cheap ones. But it was some of that good play today with our passing most of the game today.”
When the Trojans found their rhythm midway through the first half senior Travis Bell located teammate Van Emelen from the midfield for a goal.
Then Millington striker Carlos Lipsey took over the game helping the Trojans jump ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes. Lipsey scored his first goal of the game unassisted.
Moments later Humberto Velazquez passed the ball to Lipsey for his second goal.
The Trojans used players like Ethan Dupree, Spencer Percer, Eli Smoyer, Servando Mireles, Abel Velazquez and Bell dominated the tempo in the midfield for most of the second half. And when the Chiefs managed to get the ball toward Reilly in goal, Millington defenders like Antonio Webber, Justin Baker, Jake Hawkins and Andrew Wojcicki were there to neutralize Craigmont strikers.
Midway through the second half Van Emelen displayed his ball handling skills. The Huntingdon College signee had two moments where he dribbled through the Chief defense with spin moves and slide techniques. But the Craigmont goalie was able to stop the shots.
But later in the half Bell tallied his second assist of the game locating Van Emelen racing to the goal. With a strike, Van Emelen made the score 4-1.
Craigmont added a late goal but the Trojans were on their way to victory.
“We still haven’t played a full 80 minutes yet,” Dagen acknowledged. “But today the passing looked good at times and we were on the same page. If we can get that an entire game these guys will do very well. And like aways my guys played hard. Here at Millington we might not have all the club players but our guys are always going to give it their all. I’m proud of them.”