By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Both the Collierville Dragons and Millington Trojans were trying to avoid starting the 2015 season 1-3.
The Dragons were able to accomplish their goal of a victory on the Mooney Bosewell Field turf Friday night using a combination of a timely offense and solid defense to prevail 17-7. Trojans Head Coach Chris Michael noted his team contributed to its own demise.
“Penalties, plain and simple,” he noted. “We came out in the third quarter, we made a couple of adjustments on the defensive side on things we knew they were going to attack us with. We came out and moved the ball, driving it right down the field.
“We were picking up big chunks of yards — penalty,” Michael continued. “We had a stupid penalty down the field blocking, after a first down that backed us up. We get another stupid penalty blocking, not even on the side the play was on the field backing us up. Both times putting us in long yard situations.”
Penalties doomed the host Trojans killing a drive early in the third quarter that could have broken a 7-7 deadlock.
The Dragons (2-2) jumped ahead in the first quarter taking advantage of a short field. The Collierville drive started at the 15-yard line. A few players later, Dragon running back Peyton McCay crossed the goal line from a yard out to make the score 7-0 with 3:42 left in the opening quarter.
Millington (1-3) tied the game in the second quarter when running back Keno Taylor took a handoff inside the 10-yard line. With a huge block from his quarterback Eldon Tyms, Taylor raced into the end zone for the 7-yard TD.
Just before half the Dragons missed a field goal. The next best scoring chance came for the Trojans in the third quarter with a drive down the field. But a personal foul penalty stopped the Millington momentum. The opening drive of the second half ended in a Trojan punt by Tyler Denson.
“Those were drive killers,” Michael said. “We’re not good enough to have those kind of mistakes. We have to capitalize on momentum when we build it. We can’t kill our own momentum. We have to force the other team to stop us. Tonight, Collierville proved they’re a good team. They didn’t make too many mistakes. They’re a sound football team not turning the ball over.”
The Dragons didn’t help the Trojan defense much throughout the game. So players like James Cox, Kyle Lindley, Calvin Hodges, Dedricz Perry, Jeremiah Russell and Jonathan Clements stepped up to neutralize the Collierville offense.
Clements had two sacks and a couple of tackles for loss. Collierville quarterback Matt Connors finally got a chance to move his team down the field late in the third quarter. The Dragons’ drive concluded early in the fourth quarter resulting in a Dylan Scott 32-yard field goal to make the score 10-7.
The Dragons iced the game with 4 minutes and 36 seconds remaining when Connors hit receiver Justin Fowlkes on a slant pass resulting in a 10-yard touchdown.
Back to .500, Collierville will step back into Region play this Friday at Cordova. The Dragons dropped a Region game Sept. 4 against White Station.
Meanwhile the Trojans open up their 2015 Region schedule hosting the Ridgeway Roadrunners this Friday at 7 p.m.
“It’s got to be like the coaching staff was telling them, it has to be a focused week of practice,” Michael said. “You just can’t flip the switch and play this game. You have to prepare and you’ve got to prepare mentality and you have to prepare for everything.
“You can’t get out there on the field and make the mistakes that’s going to hurt your football team,” he concluded. “We played better tonight, but just made mistakes at inopportune times. And they ended up costing us.”