By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Millington Trojans would tell you after Friday night’s 55-7 defeat to the Red Devils, Germantown is good on grass as well. Before both teams hit the turf of Ken Netherland Stadium in G’Town, Trojans Head Coach Chris Michael wanted his team to remember last year’s contest and be ready to play tough for 48 minutes.
“The biggest thing for me was, where we going to go out and play scared?” Michael acknowledged. “I think they knew, at least the returning players, what they ran into last year. They knew how good Germantown going to be this year. It was going to be the quite the challenge.
“I think they competed really hard,” he continued. “I know the scoreboard doesn’t indicate what we were doing. We had a lot less in the mistake category than we did last week. We had tons of mistakes last we. This week we were a lot cleaner on both sides of the ball. We tackled better. We were in position better. We just loss battles.”
The first battle Germantown won was in the first quarter when quarterback Ethan Payne hit receiver Cameron Baker for a big gain to the 3-yard line. Moments later BJ Gardner crossed the goal line giving the Red Devils a 7-0 lead.
Germantown’s next battle victory came on special teams blocking a punt. That big play gave the Red Devils a short field leading to a Gardner 2-yard TD run making the tally 14-0.
The Red Devils (3-0) ended the first period ahead 21-0 after the Germantown defense forced a Millington fumble. Another short touchdown run gave the Red Devils a three touchdown advantage.
“It started all week in practice,” Germantown Head Coach Chris Smith said. “Our guys had probably the best week of practice they’ve ever had since I’ve been here at Germantown. It was a really good week. It was almost so physical that I had to cut some of the practices short this week.
“We try to focus on us at all times,” he added. “I try to tell them not to get caught up in the distractions — who they’re playing against. A lot of high school football is what you do and how well you do what you do. It’s not about anybody else.”
Germantown kept the pressure on Millington when Red Devil Keveon Ware made an interception setting Gardner’s third touchdown of the night. The senior running back scored on a 2-yard run to make the score 27-0.
The scoreboard read 34-0 at the break after Eric Foster scored on a 3-yard run.
The Red Devils went ahead 41-0 early in the third quarter. The Trojans (1-2) finally cracked the scoreboard midway through the period when quarterback Tommy Clifton broke loose on a read option for a 28-yard TD run.
Then Germantown closed out the scoring with a Gardner 65-yard touchdown run and a 71-yard touchdown pass. After victories over Jackson North Side, rival Houston and Millington, the Red Devils still appear motivated.
“They look like they’ve still got some life, some pep in their step,” Smith said. “They love to play the game of football. We’ve just got to keep them upright and healthy. Make sure they’re still trying to get better as a football team. I want to see them build some good comradery among each other. If you’re trying to do something special, you’ve got to have that. You’ve got to have everybody going in the same direction.”
Michael his Trojans made a step in the right direction after facing the challenge of Germantown.
“Tommy made some good throws,” he noted. “We didn’t win all those battles on the perimeter. But we had some good things go on out there. The kids got confidence because they know how good Germantown is. They didn’t win each and every one of those battles. But they knew even though they loss some of those battles, they were there competing each snap battle after battle.”
Millington’s next battle is taking on the Dyersburg Trojans in Flag City.
“It’s another good challenge,” Michael said. “Dyersburg is going to be good. It’s like we keep saying that. But Dyersburg is going to be really good. It’s another one of those teams that forces you to play responsibility football. They’re going to force you to line up and be discipline in a lot of your responsibilities like Munford does.
“I know it sounds ridiculous to say this, but you leave here with a lot of confidence,” he concluded. “I hope that the confidence the guys have is that ‘You competed with a really, really good team. You just loss a lot of the battle.’ It will give them a mental edge to stay focused and disciplined. Do what you need to do and hold true to your responsibilities.”
The Red Devils will try to remain unbeaten making a trip to Collierville Friday night. Smith said his team will continue to prepare for each week by making Germantown better.
“It’s always tough,” he said. “It’s always a battle. It’s always a roller coaster. You’re going to have ups and downs throughout a season. With ups and downs, you’ve got to enjoy the highs and when you get the lows, you’ve got to stop and evaluate. What could I have done better? What do I need to do to fix it? I think you’ve got to have good vision.
“Just because something might not have caught you in August, doesn’t mean it won’t catch you in September, October and even into November,” Smith concluded. “You’ve got to have good foresight. Although the coaches see it, the kids have to see it. The kids have to have the foresight to see what you’re talking about. You’ve got to be able to relate that to them in order to avoid the letdown or the bad week.”