The District 14-3A showdown in Millington lived up to the hype and surpassed exceptions.
In typical Arlington Tigers vs. Millington Trojans fashion, the game came down to a kick. In recent years both teams have celebrated made field goals on the final play to win the game and the league championship.
This year’s edition of the game, a blocked kick put the Tigers in position to win the 2013 District 14-3A championship. When three Arlington defenders broke the Millington line with 23 seconds left on the clock to block a Luke Bell point-after attempt, the Tigers had a 38-37 victory.
The Tigers (7-2, 4-0 in District 14-3A) are still unbeaten in league and will play the Cordova Wolves (5-3, 3-1) on Nov. 1 for a chance at the outright league title.
The one-point defeat to Arlington left the Millington Trojans 5-4 overall and 3-1 in league play. The Trojans will return to action after a bye week on Nov. 1 for Senior Night against the Bolton Wildcats.
If Millington was victorious over Arlington Friday night, the Trojans would have been the champions of the district. And early in the contest it appeared Millington was on pace to do that taking a 14-7 lead.
After Arlington jumped ahead 7-0 courtesy of a Hunter Sheffield to Tyler Flack 19-yard touchdown pass. Millington tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter when senior running back LaKeron Garcia capped off a Trojan drive with a 4-yard TD run.
The Trojans took the lead when Demarius Curry caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Eldon Tyms early in the second quarter.
The Tigers wrapped up the first half scoring twice in the final two minutes. Sheffield tied the game on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line.
After a Millington fumble on the kickoff, the Tigers took over on the 27-yard with a minute and 25 seconds left in the half. Sheffield made the Trojans pay dropping back to locate Flack again. This time for a 28-yard TD pass and Arlington was ahead 21-14 at the break.
Millington cut into the deficit early in the third quarter with a Luke Bell 33-yard field goal. The Tigers answered back with a Cameron Durley 33-yard field goal to make the score 24-17 in favor of Arlington.
The fourth quarter saw 34 point from both teams. Joseph Stevenson got the scoring started in the final quarter with a 9-yard run that gave Arlington a 31-17 lead.
Just when it appeared the Tigers gave the Trojans a knockout blow, Millington answered in a big way. Tyms dropped back and threw a rainbow into the hands of Curry for a 58-yard touchdown to make the tally 31-24.
After the Trojan defense held the Tigers courtesy of a Thomas Norphlet tackle, Millington took over and Curry made another big catch this time leaping to make a grab at the 8-yard line. A few play later the Trojans tied the game at 31-31 with a 1-yard run on fourth and goal.
With 6 minutes and 11 seconds remaining, the Trojans kicked the ball to Stevenson. Following his blocker, Stevenson exploded through the wedge and was gone to the end zone from 86 yards to make the score 38-31 in favor of the Tigers.
Millington had one more chance to tie the game with 5 minutes and 58 second left in the contest. The Trojans used the running of Tyms and Garcia to march the ball deep into Arlington territory. Facing fourth down from the 2-yard line, the Trojans handed the ball to Garcia and the senior running back reached paydirt to make the score 38-37.
The Millington faithful went from jubilation to sorrow in seconds when the extra point was blocked. The blocked echoed through the Millington Football Stadium leading to the Arlington sideline erupting into a full celebration.
Both teams have a bye this upcoming Friday and will return to district action Nov. 1 to close out the regular season.