Categorized | Sports

New Era for Trojan Football

By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Trojan football defense

Millington Head Coach Chris Michael and staff are ready to lead his young team into the 2016 football season.

Millington Head Coach Chris Michael and staff are ready to lead his young team into the 2016 football season.

Since Chris Michael has taken over the Millington Trojan Football Program in 2010, there has been a Who’s Who of talent on his rosters.
Players like George Odum, Roland Genesy, LeKeron Garcia, Antonio Webber, Patrick Macon, Eldon Tyms, Kip Fleming and current NFL player Alan Cross have been featured parts of the recent success for the program.
Although the 2016 roster has some solid players returning, a lot of skill positions and the secondary will be more like “Who’s that?”
“The summer has been pretty good,” Michael said. “We’ve put in some really good work. The guys have been in the weight room. The offseason has been good all the way through from January to the end of school. Spring was pretty productive.
“We were scaling back some things trying to implement things into the offense,” he continued. “Transitioning between the defense changing coordinators. And also, we have so much new personnel trying to figure out a place for them throughout the offensive and defensive schemes.”
Even the newcomer bug has struck the Millington coaching staff. For several years defensive coordinator Bailey Waits has been a fixture on the sideline grooming talent like Cross, Macon, Nick Carter, Zane Adams, Demetre Jones, Jonathan Clements and Paul Robinson to name a few.
Now the man who will take over the reigns of the Black Hats will be Dodd Gengenbach. If that name sounds familiar, Gengenbach has called Tipton-Rosemark Academy home recently guiding the Rebels to three straight playoff appearances.
While Gengenbach was enjoying success just north in Millington, the Trojan offense was under the guidance of Clint Adair.
Adair has moved onto Bartlett taking over the Panthers’ offensive coordinator role. The man moving up as Millington O-coordinator will be Darren Garcia.
“Young, very young,” Michael described his offensive unit. “Probably the least amount of experience I’ve ever gone into a season with in my 14 years of coaching. I’ve never had this little of experience. It will be a challenge like no other.”
Millington’s offensive experience is on the line with players like Nick Fenney, Chance Taylor, Solomon Slevkoff, Pierre Newbern, Danny Chandler and Jeremiah Russell
“Some of them played significant minutes last year but they all played,” Michael said. “It should be the strength of our team. But it’s where we have the least amount of depth. You’re talking about big guys who have to play both ways because our numbers are low.”
The graduation of skill players like quarterback Eldon Tyms and receivers Kip Fleming and Marcus Winston have left some holes in the Trojan offense.
Fleming’s and Winston’s graduation also left the Millington secondary in search for new talent.
“We’re replacing the secondary,” Michael said. “We’ve had some nice surprises coming out of there coming out of the spring. Robert Head we’ve finally got him out of the basketball gym onto the football field. He’s an outstanding football players. He’ll be starting at one of our safety positions.
“D’Monte Kemp is back,” he added. “He’s really our our lone returning starter from the secondary. Sam Stanifer is going to be playing some, especially if he can stay healthy. Gabe Christopher was a freshman who played some last year. He’ll be back maybe seeing time as a free safety.”
Gengenbach did inherit a solid linebacking corps. to go along with his experienced linemen.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids in there,” Michael noted. “We have some size and some ability but they’re all green. They’re just green and learning. We’ve moved some people around from defensive end to linebacker, back to defensive end. It’s very much so a work in progress.”
With so much young talent in the mix and giving freshmen a serious look at the main roster, Michael said early August is time to build his team’s mental strength.
“The biggest thing we’re looking for right now is the fight inside of them to push themselves through the hot, tired and draining practices we’re having right now,” he said. “And they still need to be able to function and execute whatever they’re asked to offensively and defensively.
“We’ve got to get mentally tough when it comes to dealing with lack of depth in having to play lots of minutes and having to play those minutes at a high level,” he concluded. “I’m looking for them to make gains there. When we’re fresh and playing focused, we’re pretty close to being a pretty good football team. But as soon as we start getting tired, the mistakes start to pile up and it just snowballs on us.”

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