By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Penalty yards were in the favor of the Germantown Red Devils.
Amount of rushing yards dominanted by Charlie White’s Red Devil multiple runners. Those were just two key factors that led to the Germantown 13-3 victory over the Millington Trojans Friday night in the Millington Football Stadium.
But if you ask Millington Head Coach Chris Michael why those two aspects of the game went against his team, it was the battle on the line of scrimmage.
“We were poor in the offensive line,” he acknowledged. “They do what they do. We’ve been working on it for two weeks. We were just slow-footed. We were anticipating their blitz and guys weren’t moving. Their (foot work) was bad. They were holding. They didn’t execute in a lot of cases.
“Turnovers compounded it and we lost field position the entire second half,” Michael added. “We could never get out of our own way. The ball stayed on there end of the field and our defense was out there the whole time just trying to hold them.”
Millington tallied 17 penalties overall with most being false starts, illegal procedures and holding.
“Everytime we had a positive play it was called back,” Michael recalled. “You can’t win a tough game against a good team like this.”
The Trojans (0-1) had one big play that didn’t get called back. After a scoreless first quarter, both defense bent but didn’t break throughout the second quarter. Millington stopped Germantown on a fourth down just three yards away from paydirt.
Trojan sophomore quarterback Eldon Tyms and the offense took over the ball on downs. And the big play that stood was a 60-yard reception, Tyms to senior wide receiver Chris Sanders.
A few plays later, Trojan kicker Luke Bell drilled a 21-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Trojans.
The third quarter saw the field position shift in favor of the Red Devils. Millington punted the ball to Germantown (1-0) just 53 yards away from the end zone. The Red Devils drove the ball to the 1-yard line sparked by big runs from running back Anthony Quinn. Germantown quarterback Welsey Dacus capped off the drive with a QB sneak giving the Red Devils a 6-3 advantage.
That was the score heading into the fourth quarter. The final scoring play of the night came courtesy of a Millington miscue. The ball was snapped over the punter’s head leading to a scramble in the end zone. Once the ball was fumbled, Germantown recovered for a touchdown.
“When you snap one over your head and make a bad play fumbling it in the end zone giving up a touchdown,” Michael noted, “it’s one of those things and you can’t give up plays like that against a good team like Germantown.”
White’s defense kept the Trojans in check by stopping the Millington rushing attack. They forced Trojan quarterbacks Tyms and Nick Hunt into forced throws missing receivers.
“I’m really pleased with the victory first of all,” White said. “The kids played hard. Coming out here to play Millington, anytime, is a tough duty. That’s a hard-hose football team with a lot of athletes. I’m proud of our kids.
“Defensively, we played pretty good,” he added. “Offensively, we’ve got to quit stopping ourselves and execute. I need to do a better job of play selection. We got down to the Red Zone three or four times, didn’t put the ball in. We have to be able to put some points on the scoreboard and take some of the pressure off our defense.”
Michael said the Trojan coaching staff will turn up the heat on his players during the next week of practice.
“It’s got to be a competition in practice,” he said. “Right now, we’ve go to find offensive linemen who will come off the ball. Tonight, we were working backwards.
“We’ve got to get our offensive line going,” Michael concluded. “We’ve got to be able to control the line of scrimmage. The running game was a non-factor. Until we can run the ball, we’re going to be on the short end of a lot of these scoreboards.”
White said despite picking up a season-opening victory on the road, his Red Devils can also use some work on offense.
“The defense stepped up tonight,” he concluded. “Defensively, I’m proud of them. Special teams, I’m proud of them. Offensively, we’ve got to go to work and get better. It can get better and it will get better.”
Both teams return to action this week in rivalry games. Germantown will host Christian Brothers for a 7 p.m. kickoff this Friday. And the Trojans travel to Brighton to take on the Cardinals with a 7 p.m. start as well.