By Thomas Sellers Jr.
HERNANDO, Miss. — Coaches, players and even fans know football games are won in the trenches.
Those associated with the Millington Trojans can testify that well-known statement is true from the past two games. The Trojans were defeated Aug. 28 by the rival Munford Cougars in the M&M Bowl 41-18.
Next up was a trip to the Magnolia State to battled the Hernando Tigers. The Tigers are moving up the polls in the state of Mississippi, and the Millington Trojans found out why firsthand last Friday in the Hernando Football Stadium with the Tigers dominating in a 47-7 decision.
“We’re not very tough,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michael said of his team. “We’re young in that we don’t have experienced players out there on the field. Very few of those guys in this locker room. The few that we have, we’re not getting very good leadership out of them right now. When things get bad, we’re not fighting through adversity too well.
“We were playing a really good football team tonight,” he continued. “I don’t want to take anything way from them. He’s got a, probably one of the best teams we’re going to face all year. Definitely talented and good on both sides of the ball. They do things well. They didn’t do anything particularly special tonight. They just whipped our tails tonight.”
Hernando Head Coach Will Wolfe used mostly trap plays to rack up rushing yards and points against Millington. The Tiger defense kept the Trojan offense out of the end zone the entire night.
“We’re playing a bunch of freshmen,” Michael said. “We’re getting a bunch of people hurt. We’re just not real tough right now. The interior with the offensive and defensive lines, when you play against teams like this, your not solid in those two positions you’re not going to fair very well. That’s what happen to us the last two weeks.”
The Tigers (3-0) tallied 21 points in the first quarter with quarterback Robert Wilcke, running back Quentin Frazier and wide out Kyle Barkley scoring.
Hernando went ahead 27-0 in the second quarter when Frazier broke loose once again this time from 28-yard out.
The Tigers kicked the ball off to Millington Trojans senior Marcus Winston. The Trojan speedster got his team on the scoreboard returning the ball 92 yards for a touchdown. Ethan Dupree’s extra point made the score 27-7.
Hernando closed out the first half with the final two touchdowns courtesy of running back Karleke Oliver and Wilcke.
Wilcke finished the first half with two touchdowns runs and the TD pass to Barkley. The Tigers rushed for 316 yards in the first half to build a 40-7 advantage.
Late in the third quarter the Tigers scored for the final time when Wilcke crossed the goal line from 6 yards out.
The Trojans (1-2) return to the Volunteer State to host the Collierville Dragons next week.
“The first thing we do is try to figure out how many we’re going to have,” Michael said. “We got a dozen hurt tonight. We have to try to figure who’s going to be healthy and then try to figure it out from there. We played a of ninth graders tonight. We played a lot of 10th graders who have never really played tonight. But we’re going to do what we have to do to try to build.”
The leader of the Trojans said while his team develops toughness and gains experience, it needs to play more disciplined.
“We’re not a smart football team right now,” Michael noted. “Munford put that on us last week because we had to play responsibility football and we couldn’t handle our assignments. Then this week, we just got beat up physically. We didn’t tackle well — a lot of arm tackling. Still even as limited as Coach Wolfe was running zone and trap, we didn’t defend well. We were out of position.
“When you’ve got kids and they don’t have the experience and know-how to fight through it, you try to rotate bodies,” he added. “You try to put guys in there to make plays. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to no end. We are what we are right now. We have to find a way to get better. And the players that we’ve got are the players that we’ve got. They’ve got to find a way to get better. They’ve got to take it upon themselves to work harder and get better and take care of their responsibilities in all 11 positions on that field.”
Michael said he has some players giving their all the entire game, but he needs all wearing black and gold to give 100 percent at all times.
“Right now, we had some kids who played really hard tonight — kids who made some plays,” he concluded. “You can’t do it with the caliber of schedule that we play, you can’t have just 3 or 4 guys making plays. And have 7 or 8 not pulling their weight. And that’s what we’ve got right now.”