By Thomas Sellers Jr.
In recent years the Millington Trojans have made news transforming into a Spread formation offense leaving the Wing-T days behind.
Entering 2014, the year Millington was expected to run the Spread with more effectiveness, the Trojans appeared to play in a new I-formation. The ‘I’ stood for injury.
During the course of last season key players like receiver Kip Fleming, running backs Keno Taylor and D’Monte Kemp and quarterback Eldon Tyms all missed time.
There were also injuries on the offensive line. The positive from all the ailments in 2014 was some younger players had a chance to gain experience.
As the opener against the Bolton Wildcats at Millington Football Stadium is just days away, Millington Head Coach Chris Michael said his new-look line will be the key from week to week.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of tools coming back,” he said. “But everything lives and dies with the offensive line. If our offensive line can’t gel and create some depth with some of the younger players and the upperclassmen don’t perform at a higher level, it’s going to be a struggle offensively.
“This year is going to be a big question mark with a lot of holes to fill,” Michael added. “We’re still looking. We’ve had some players step up but we’re asking a lot of our inexperience players to get in there and contribute.”
One position on the Millington offense loaded with experience is quarterback. Tyms first started for the black and gold as a freshman. On a warm October night that quickly transformed into a cold rain storm, Tyms wore the No. 32 and led the Trojans to a Homecoming victory over Trezevent.
Fast forward to 2015, Tyms enters the season with solid numbers and colleges seeking his services on the next level.
But 2014 was his toughest season because he suffered an ankle injury in the middle of the season causing him to miss several games. Tyms returned in time to lead the Trojans to a win over Lawrence County in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Now Tyms will try to help guide the Trojans through a demanding Class 4A schedule featuring teams like East, Central, Ridgeway and Covington.
“Hopefully he developed some patience and also he hopefully understood his value to the team,” Michael said of Tyms returning. “Anytime you lose a starting quarterback on any team you’re going to struggle. In high school, we’re all not fortunate to have depth like they do college and pros. Hopefully he’ll be patient and he’ll be the leader he’s always been.
“And he can help that offensive line gel,” he continued. “If they don’t get performance to a high level, it’s going to be a struggle for him because he has to be upright in our offense to make us effective. That’s for all our skill players. It doesn’t matter how good our skill players are if our offensive line is not performing at a high level. It will be a struggle for our entire offense.”
Michael said Millington’s skill players have the talent and ability to put up big numbers behind a solid line.
“Kip Fleming is coming back in the receiver corps,” he said. “He and Kameron Middleton played all of last season. We’ve looking for them to be big contributors. We’ve got Keno Taylor coming back and D’Monte Kemp are both back healthy.
“Between the two of them we hope to put a quality back in for every snap,” Michael added. “With Eldon and the other receivers in the mix, they’ve had a good fall. But it all depends on that offensive line.”