By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Competition has pushed the trio of Tommy Clifton, Zeb Marvin and newcomer Josh Allred to a new level of excellence this past spring and summer.
As all three upperclassmen battle for the Millington Trojan quarterback position, Allred, Clifton and Marvin have formed a friendship and understanding of pushing the Trojans to another level.
“It’s going good for us,” Clifton said. “Good competition, everybody is about equal. Each one of us, dual-threat quarterbacks. We’re good passers with good mechanics. We’re good in the pocket.”
As Head Coach Chris Michael evaluates his talent behind center, the players are focused on getting into good shape and learning the playbook from multiple aspects to be ready for 2018.
While Clifton and Marvin took a vast majority of the snaps in 2017, senior Allred is making his debut for Millington after arriving in the spring.
“I think it’s going pretty good,” Allred said. “They’ve been showing me the ropes. They have welcomed me into this.”
As Allred learns from his fellow senior Marvin and junior Clifton, he has seen some work at other positions like safety, punter and wide receiver.
“It feels good to compete and earn a starting spot,” he said. “That’s good for us.”
Marvin started 2017 at receiver but was thrust into the quarterback spot after Clifton went down with a shoulder injury.
“I learned really about keeping your head up,” he said. “Playing ball and leaving the past behind you. It’s about getting your team up and doing better than you did last year.
“Everybody working together, everybody in the same shape and everybody on the same page,” Marvin continued. “We’ve still all got to get into shape and not have fatigue. We’ve all got to get the plays down.”
Marvin will see action on defense and on the perimeter as a receiver. Michael told most of his starters to be prepared to play some ironman football in 2018.
“It’s all-around team,” Marvin said. “It’s not just one position. Any position to help the team is good for me to do. Anything I can do to help my team out. To become better and one family, anything I can do or spot they want me. I’m giving 100 percent.”
Clifton is ready to give 100 percent wherever he is needed. As a third-generation Trojan, Clifton inherited the quarterback spot from one of the best Millington signal callers as a freshman.
“Its been a little more pressure coming into this season,” Clifton acknowledged. “Coming in my freshman year, I had a bunch I had to take in taking over the starting job after Eldon (Tyms) left. Then my sophomore year I got hurt. Now entering my junior year I have these two guys here giving me some more competition. They’re putting some pressure on me. I welcome a challenge.”
Clifton was a standout on both sides of the ball during his Metro Trojans days in middle school. Michael said he will see time at safety and his running skills will be put to use as well.
“Any position I can play to help the team, I will do anything to help the team on offense or defense or both,” Clifton said.
All three potential signal callers said the key to success will be the offensive line’s development under the guidance of senior Kaleb Macklin. Players like Macklin, Clifton, Allred and Marvin said the other key component to Millington bouncing back in 2018 takes place off the field.
“We’ve got to find our leaders and we’ll take over the team,” Marvin concluded. “(All our competition) looks down on us because of the past couple of years. It’s time to change that.”