By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Two Craigmont fumbles hitting the Raleigh-Egypt Stadium turf courtesy of senior linebacker James Cox in the second quarter. And countless Chief penalties including two personal fouls turning a goal line situation into a fourth down and 30 yards try.
The Millington Trojans had their share of chances Friday night but couldn’t seem maintain the slippery reigns of momentum. The Chiefs climbed the rungs enough times to prevail 25-7.
“Like I told them, ‘We’re still our own worst enemy,’” Millington Head Coach Chris Michael said. “Not being stationary in the offensive line, getting behind the chains. We don’t have room to get behind the chains. I don’t care who we are playing. We’ve got to stay in front of the chains. We missed some plays in the passing game.
“We turned the ball over going in to score early in the game,” he added. “Fumbled probably inside the 5 yard line. We just don’t have the ability to give those kind of turnovers up. We can’t allow those types of mistakes. When we get an opportunity, we’ve got to capitalized on them.”
Craigmont (2-5, 1-1) jumped ahead 7-0 early in the first quarter after a 21-yard touchdown run by T. Sanders. Millington’s first possession started at the 8:59 mark.
The Trojans were on the brink of tying the contest when that fumble occurred near the goal line at the 4 minute and 19 second mark.
The Chiefs tried to take full advantage of that turnover moments later using a double pass for a 67-yard touchdown. But a penalty called the score back.
Millington (1-7, 0-2) couldn’t use that break nor the next two pieces of good fortune to its advantage. Cox caused his first fumble early in the second quarter with teammate Jeremiah Russell recovering the ball. The Trojans ended up punting.
At the 10:34 mark Cox was back at it again popping the ball loose with a jarring hit on a Chief runner. This time Romeo Mayes in the right place to make the recovery. Once again the Trojans couldn’t manage any points.
Craigmont scored another touchdown before the half to go into the locker room ahead 13-0.
“They made their fair share of mistakes,” Michael noted. “And it seemed like whenever they would do something and give us some momentum, we would give the momentum right back. We couldn’t get anything established with any consistency. And that’s has been the problem all season long.”
The Millington coaches agreed by the end of the night the Trojan defense played well. Millington held Craigmont scoreless in the third quarter while coming up empty as well.
The Chiefs started to find more success offensively in the fourth quarter. Craigmont scored twice including an Andre Carter touchdown run to make the score 25-0.
The Trojans finally put a dent into the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter when Zeb Marvin scored on a quarterback sneak.
Marvin set up his own score with a big run into Craigmont territory. Marvin tried to use weapons like Leander Cooper, Matt Thomas, Eddie Macklin and Cory Smith throughout the night.
Marvin threw a picture-perfect pass to Smith between two Craigmont defenders in the end zone. But the apparent catch was ruled incomplete.
Just another opportunity not cashed in by the Trojans. Now Millington has a bye week during Fall Break. Before taking on Bartlett Oct. 20, Michael said the Trojans’ next opponent will be Millington.
“We’re going to practice a few days next week,” he said. “And we’re going to just work on us. When you get deep into the season, it’s a grind and your time is short. You try to game plan and prepare for the next team you have up Friday night. You don’t get much time to improve on the fundamentals.
“We you’ve got a young team, you’re lacking in a lot of the fundamentals,” Michael concluded. “And when you have to throw them out there on a Friday night, those weaknesses show. They are just young and inexperienced. So we’ll spend a lot of time just working on us and not worrying about Bartlett.”