PARIS, Tenn. — A microcosm of the 2014 Millington Trojans’ season played itself out in Patriot Stadium Friday night.
Injuries, untimely flags and bad breaks plagued the Trojans against the reigning Class 5A champion Henry County Patriots all night. The Patriots took advantage of Millington miscues and a pair of safeties to prevail 26-16. Henry County advances to the 2014 Class 5A Quarterfinals this upcoming Friday to play No. 1 seeded the Ridgeway Roadrunners in Memphis.
Early in Friday night’s Second Round contest, it appeared the Trojans (8-4) had a shot at advancing jumping out 6-0 in the second quarter when Eldon Tyms hit wide receiver Kip Fleming for a touchdown pass.
Millington needed the boost after standout linebacker Patrick Macon went to the sideline with 3 minutes and 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Trojans’ first score came with 10 minutes and 12 seconds left in the second quarter. The Patriots’ first drive without Macon on the field produced a long march setting up a Chris Henderson 5-yard TD run to tie the game at 6-6.
Henry County (10-2) took the lead at 12-6 late in the first half when quarterback Jake Croasmun capped off another Patriot drive with an 1-yard sneak. The Patriots led 14-6 at halftime after Millington suffered another injury to center Chance Taylor.
Millington’s back-up center ended up snapping the ball over Tyms’ head and out of the end zone giving Henry County two extra points.
The Patriots’ advantage grew in the third quarter with another short touchdown run to cap off a drive. Macon tried to play on his ankle but couldn’t bare the pain. His backup was offensive line Josh Taylor.
Once Taylor settled into his role as an outside linebacker moving Dante Pitts to middle backer, the Trojans neutralized the Patriots with the score 21-6.
Henry County got a couple of big defensive plays in the third quarter with interceptions from Evan Harrison and Cody Hunter. The last pick from Hunter set up a field goal making the tally 24-6.
The Trojans fought back in the fourth quarter when Tyms hit running back Justin Coleman for a 49-yard gain on a screen pass. The big play set up a Luke Bell 30-yard field goal to make the score 24-9.
A few minutes later the field possession swung in favor of the Patriots when the Trojans had the ball on their own 8-yard line. A swing pass from Tyms to Fleming caught near the end zone resulted in a tackle for loss behind the goal line giving Henry County another safety.
The final score of the night came courtesy of Millington’s back-up quarterback Sam Stanifer. Responsible for several big plays all year, Artavious Thomas was on the receiving end of Stanifer’s quick pass from the 20-yard line. Thomas used his speed and blocks from teammates to race 80 yards to the end zone to make the score 26-16 with 4 minutes and 13 seconds left.
But the Trojans didn’t have enough firepower left with Tyms hobbled and too many injures on the offensive line.