By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — The Millington Trojans learned firsthand why the Memphis East Mustangs are one of the best team in Class 4A Football in Tennessee.
Last Thursday night in Melrose Stadium, the Mustangs used big plays early and often to post a 54-12 victory.
East running back Devante Turner scored twice in the first quarter on runs of 32 and 33 yards to put the Mustangs ahead 14-0.
“You can’t with a team that is that explosive with that many athletes out there, you can’t give up the big plays,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michael said. “That had 14 points and ran only four offensive plays. So you’re down 14-0.”
The Trojans (2-7) got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Eldon Tyms hit Marcus Winston for a 13-yard touchdown to make the score 14-6.
The Millington defense finally got a hand on Turner and stopped him on a couple of carries. The Trojans were keeping the Mustangs under control until Turner broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes and 32 seconds left in the first half to make the score 22-6.
“I was proud of the way my guys kept fighting,” Michaels said. “We were able to move the ball offensively and then stall. We were moving the ball on them a little, running the ball on them a little bit.
“Our passing game was off,” he acknowledged. “Eldon and the receivers just couldn’t connect. We had some miscommunication. The pick-6, the receiver was supposed to be running a curl but ran a seam route. Eldon threw a curl and the defense was standing right there.”
Before that turnover led to an East touchdown, the Mustang defenders closed out the first half with a TD.
Millington drove toward midfield toward the end of the first half. The Trojans were able to manage a few drives in the first half before coming up empty.
The final series for Millington in the first half would result in six points — for the Mustangs.
East (6-1) got pressure in the backfield sacking Tyms. The ball came loose with Timmarious Jefferson scooping up the pigskin and returning it for a touchdown to make the tally 28-6 at the break.
“With a team like this you’re fighting an uphill battle anyway,” Michaels said. “You cannot turn the ball over and give them easy scores. You can’t give them anything.”
In the second half, Turner went back to work breaking loose for another big run to the house. His 56-yard touchdown made the score 34-6 in the third quarter.
East went ahead 40-6 late in the period when quarterback Eric Banks hooked up with Teddrick McGhee for a tip-toe touchdown in the back of the end zone.
Less than 2 minutes later East’s defense got back into the scoring act when Darrian Anthony picked up a Trojan pass and returned for a touchdown. The Mustangs were ahead 46-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams scored in the final quarter with Millington receiving a touchdown from the returning Kip Fleming. The senior speedster snatched a slant pass from Tyms for a 16-yard score to make the scoreboard read 46-12.
East had the final touchdown of the night to make the score 54-12. The Mustangs move on to play Martin Luther King Prep next Thursday.
Meanwhile the Trojans return to action on the road at Covington Oct. 23 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.