By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Coming into Friday night’s contest against the Millington Trojans, Germantown featured offensive linemen like Max Martini, Isaiah Hayden, Alan Patterson and Nick Ferri. Head Coach Chris Smith wanted that group to be the key to success against the Trojans.
Germantown won the line of scrimmage early and often leading to a 49-3 victory keeping the Red Devils unbeaten in 2017.
One of the Germantown players reaching the end zone multiple times on Mooney Bosewell Field was Indiana commitment Jaylin Williams. The senior athlete had three scores, two offensively.
“Without the offensive line giving Ethan (Payne) enough time to throw me the ball, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Williams said. “I want to give a shout out to them. I’m out here trying to make plays to help my team win by any means possible.
“They are really important,” he continued. “We’ve got Big Max, Isaiah, Taylor, Alan and Nick out there doing that work. Just big bodies holding it up front.”
The Red Devil line pushed the Trojan defense backwards in the opening moments of the game. Germantown (3-0) capped off the 74-yard march with a Payne to Williams 10-yard TD pass on a fade route.
The 7-0 score grew to 14-0 a couple of minutes later when Jalen Givens exploded for a 65-yard touchdown run breaking several tackles near the line of scrimmage.
Millington (1-2) started to win a few battles along the line in its third drive of the contest. The Trojans started on the 30-yard-line moving the ball into Germantown territory.
The big play for Millington came courtesy of a Tommy Clifton to Gabe Christopher screen pass for a 34-yard gain. The Trojan drive stalled leading to a Stephen Carter 35-yard field goal to make the score 14-3.
Germantown looked to seize control of the game in the second quarter. The Red Devils began with a familiar formula of getting the ball to Williams. This time he found the end zone from 53 yards away to make the score 21-3.
The Red Devils added two more touchdowns in a three-minute span to make the tally 35-3. Before the first half came to conclusion Williams tallied his third touchdown of the night picking off a pass and returning it 32 yards. Germantown was ahead 42-3 at the break.
“It was more of a case that they’re really, really good,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michaels said. “Of course we knew that it was going to be an uphill battle no matter how well we played. They are one of the best teams in West Tennessee. They’re going to give everybody in their league fits.
“It was easy to see that he’s (Smith) been building the last couple of years he’s been over there some strength, depth, talent, size, athleticism and speed,” he added. “They just dwarfed us when it comes to all of those categories. You’re overwhelmed a little bit playing as a smaller school and program taking on a Class 6A team like that.”
Millington competes in Class 4A and had a schedule bigger teams like Munford, Bolton, Bartlett, St. Benedict and Germantown.
“It is what it is,” Michaels said. “You’ve got to build a schedule with seven games because TSSAA sticks you in a four-team Region. You get stuck playing games like this. You hope you can get through team and compete without any injuries. None of that happened tonight. They pretty much swallowed us up at the beginning. And we had a lot of injuries. That’s not good for us.”
In the second half Trojans like Clifton and Christopher headed to the sideline in pain. The Red Devils added one more score and improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2008.
“This is a special team and a special year,” Williams said. “I’m really excited to see how it will play out. We take it one game at a time. We can’t look ahead or take anything for granted.
“We can’t take anybody for granted,” he added. “Anything can happen. So we take it one game at a time. We play each game like it’s the first game of the season.”
Next up for Germantown this Friday is welcoming the rival Collierville Dragons to town. Williams said although there is a lot of history and respect for the Dragons, the Red Devils have to stick with the approach that has been working.
“Take it one game at a time,” he said. “It might be a rivalry, but it’s one game at a time. It might be more special, but it’s another regular season game.”
Meanwhile the Trojans have to hit the road to take on another large team with a history of success. This Friday will be a battle of the Black & Gold Trojans when Millington arrives in Dyersburg.
“We’re young and our senior group is thin,” Michaels noted. “ It’s only a handful of those seniors who have been on the field and who are battled tested. So you’ve got to hope they find a way to get that group to believe like they do. It’s an uphill battle. You can’t do anything about who you’re going to play. You’ve got to show up and play them every Friday night.
“In a lot of cases, we’re still our own worst enemy,” he concluded. “Our immaturity, our lack of being able to execute on a consistent basis is what our downfall right now. You have no room to make mistakes when you play the teams on our schedule.”