Posted on September 26, 2013.
Defense, special teams and solid offensive play spotted the Millington Trojans a 21-0 lead Friday night in the Bartlett Football Stadium.
The reason those points compiled in the first half were so important, there were more puddles on the Bartlett track surrounding the field than fans in the bleachers. A consistent downpour made every point crucial in the Millington Trojan/Bartlett Panther District 14-3A tilt.
And the Trojan defense made the three-touchdown lead at halftime hold for a 21-6 victory.
“It was big to get out to a lead,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michael said. “Because anytime you’re in a close ball game in these type of conditions anything could happen. Special teams did a good job as much as the ball was moving around.
“Defense did a good job,” he added. “Offense I thought did a great job of possesing the ball. We threw the ball around a lot in these conditions. Our receivers caught a lot of ball in these wet conditions. I’m really proud of the execution in the first half.”
Bartlett’s defense had better execution in the final 24 minutes holding the Trojans scoreless. But in the first half Millington quarterback Eldon Tyms led the Trojans down the field for three scoring drives.
Despite being a sophomore, Tyms wasn’t phased by the wet conditions and rain continuing to fall throughout the night.
Tyms is not a stranger to downpours making his debut as a true freshman Oct. 5, 2012 on Homecoming night against Trezevant. A powerful storm rolled through Millington that night and Tyms was able to lead the Trojans to a 10-6 win over the Bears.
“It didn’t bother me,” Tyms said of the rain Friday night. “I was good.”
Tyms was good throughout the first half running for a score and throwing two TD passes. Tyms made the score 7-0 with a touchdown run with 5 minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Then the Trojans’ next touchdown came in the second quarter when Tyms used his arm to find sophomore wide receiver Kip Fleming from 28 yards out to make the tally 14-0.
With the ball slick, the Panthers had trouble fielding the Luke Bell kickoff. The fumble ended up in the hand of a Millington player.
Special teams for two games in a row, regardless of being young, we cannot turn the ball over after we make stops,” Bartlett Panther Head Coach Jeff McFerran said. “Or on kickoffs, we don’t get the ball outside of the 25 or 20 yard line on returns. It’s something we have to reevaluate on film. Maybe it’s something we’re not doing as coaches.
“As far as the kids not holding onto the ball, that seems to be the theme we have going on this season,” he continued. “We as a staff have to find a way to resolve that. We can’t fumble and let teams get ahead of us. Then we play pretty good football after that. It’s like we’re doing charity work in the first half then want to play decent in the second.”
Just seconds after the fumbled kickoff, Tyms found a leaping Chris Sanders in the end zone to make the score 21-0 at halftime.
Tyms said it was a team effort a year ago that made him look good in his Trojan debut and it was the same formula against Bartlett that allowed him to have a smooth first half.
“My teammates,” the signal caller noted. “They made sure my head was into the game. All my seniors gave me some pointers like who was open and all that good stuff. It was a team effort really.”
The Millington defense used that team approach throughout the night forcing Panther turnovers and neutralizing the Bartlett attack. Trojan Damarius Curry made a leaping interception over a Panther wide out in the first half. And his teammate CJ Harris recovered a fumble in the second half.
Millington’s special team overcame the conditions with Bell nailing all his extra points and Kieontae Price handling the punting duties keeping Bartlett with a long field to navigate.
With both teams substituing late in the contest, the Panthers got on the scoreboard with 10 seconds left in the game when Austin Kellon sprinted outside the pocket and bought enough time to locate Johnathan Frazier. He fought to get into the end zone to make the final 21-6.
The Trojans will travel to MBA in Nashville this Friday.