By Thomas Sellers Jr.
While the courses drills the phrase ‘Be humble,’ into the listeners head, it seems like the meek attitude has escaped some of the 2017 Millington Trojans. Since the Lamar hit has been on the airwaves, the Trojans have endured tough times on the gridiron.
Meanwhile Friday night’s opponent the Raleigh-Egypt Pharaohs have enjoyed making school history and becoming one of the best teams in Class 3A.
Major Wright’s Pharaohs proved the lean years prior to 2016 built the character for last season’s Region and the undefeated start in 2017. Raleigh-Egypt remained unbeaten dominating in a 60-6 victory.
The Pharaoh grabbing most of the headlines coming into the game and demanding the attention after a 6-touchdown performance in Millington was Kalyn Grandberry. The standout running back came into the contest Friday leading the area with 18 scores.
He left Flag City with a grand total of 24 touchdowns and sharing the credit.
“I thank my linemen,” Grandberry said. “I thank my whole team. It was the whole team really that helped me score about 6 touchdowns. I did not do it all by myself.”
Grandberry said the Pharaohs surprised Tennessee football last year winning the Region title, but the early playoff exit has been inspiration to the 6-0 start in 2017.
“Last season did end too soon,” he acknowledged. “We know we have to go harder than we did last year. We don’t want to go home. The mindset is ‘Go hard or go home.’ We want to go far this year.”
Raleigh-Egypt didn’t have to go far for its first touchdown of the night when Damonte Davis recovered a Millington fumble at the 21-yard-line.
On the very next play, Wright dialed up a reverse that allowed Kaleb Carter cross the goal line from 21 yards away to make the score 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff the the Trojans (1-5) displayed some fight when Cory Smith received the ball near the 10-yard-line. Smith blasted through the Pharaohs and exploded down the field for the touchdown to make the score 7-6 less than 2 minutes into the game.
Then it was all Raleigh-Egypt after that Millington highlight. Grandberry scored on runs of 14, 39 and 6 yards to make the tally 27-6 in the first quarter.
Then Grandberry took a screen pass, made a couple of Trojans miss before racing to the end zone for a 53-yard TD. The score was 34-6 after one quarter.
Grandberry’s final two touchdowns came in the second quarter from 2 and 15 yards out. Ahead 47-6, the Pharaohs closed out the first half with a defensive score when Corey Harris gathered up a Trojan fumble across midfield and took off toward paydirt. Raleigh-Egypt was ahead 54-6 at the break.
The Pharaohs added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter to prevail 60-6.
“We didn’t help ourselves any,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michaels said. “We talked about the previous mistakes we made in the previous games. We tell these guys there’s no room for errors. You have to be perfect with the schedule we’re playing. With the amount of experience and talent we have to match up with the teams we’re playing against you have to be perfect.
“I think we had four turnovers in the first half on the offense,” he added. “The offense was none existent, just giving them the ball with a short field. Fumbles in the backfield, the interceptions, that’s stuff that we control. It’s not them. That’s on us making those mistakes.”
The Trojans have played a tough schedule agains the likes of Munford, Dyersburg, St. Benedict, Germantown and Raleigh-Egypt. Michaels said after the Pharaoh defeat his team should have some humility.
“I don’t know how they don’t already have this — that’s some humbleness,” he said. “If they haven’t looked at this schedule and seen what they’ve already line up against and understood that the guys across form them are better than them. They’ve got to out work them. Our talent level is not on the level of what we’ve been playing against in these first few games.
“The only way you compete with that is you out work them, you make no mistakes, play a clean game and you just out work them,” Michaels continued. “Even then you may not be successful. But at least you walk off the field with your head held high and feel like, ‘I gave that battle. I gave that guy and that team all I could give them tonight.’ And we’re not getting that. And I am not pleased with some of the senior leadership that we’ve gotten. Guys are feeling sorry for themselves. In life nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”
Michaels said honoring the 2007 Millington Trojans team that went 13-1 with induction into the Hall of Fame displayed the importance of the game he wants his current players to learn. Several of the players who returned are businessmen, fathers, husbands and accomplished in the real world.
“In life there is going to be somebody who is always looking to knock you off,” he said. “But there’s nobody who can outwork you if you put your mind to it. That right there is what they need to take from it. Walking out here on this field thinking just because you play for Millington and you’ve got the Black and Gold on, that don’t get it done.
“That ’07 team that was here tonight had some of the luxury of that,” Michaels concluded. “But that’s far and few between. The group like Major’s got, those teams don’t just come along. You have to fight and work to build to that level. It just don’t happen because you think you’re that way. You have to go out and earn that.”