By Thomas Sellers Jr.
And the 2019 Trojans want to make sure the title gets comfortable in Flag City. Millington went unbeaten against league foes Memphis East, Craigmont and Fayette-Ware in 2018. But the new-look Region 8-4A has Bolton in the mix replacing East.
“No pressure at all because if we execute and do everything as we’re supposed to, I feel everything will go all right,” junior linebacker Devin Knight said.
Senior lineman Markees Flowers agrees with Knight that if Millington concentrates on improving daily during the summer, it will come down to execution this fall.
“I feel pretty good about going into our league,” he said. “There’s a lot of confidence going in with the district championship last year. We have a push and drive go get another one this year.”
In addition to the Region opponents, Millington will take on the likes of MLK-Prep, Liberty, Munford and Trezevant. Gone are the likes of Germantown, St. Benedict, Dyersburg and Bartlett.
“It’s still a good challenge but we’re now on more of an even playing field,” Trojan senior lineman Verdo Young said.
Young will be alongside teammates like Flowers and Hunter Smith as experienced offensive lineman.
“It’s extremely important with what we do up there on that line,” he said. “It all starts with the center and everyone holding their blocks giving Tommy enough time to make his reads. And giving Tommy time to hand that ball off and give the running backs holes to read.”
Senior quarterback Tommy Clifton is entering his fourth year as a starter at Millington. Most of his favorite targets in 2018 have graduated like running back Jer’fonzo Smith and receivers Corey Smith, Eddie Macklin, Zeb Marvin and Josh Allred.
Verdo said despite getting a new corps. into the flow of things, Millington will make strides before hitting the league portion of the schedule because of the leadership of Clifton.
“I couldn’t express how much confidence that gives us having Tommy back there,” he said. “Growing up with him, being here with him and playing with him gives us all a lot of confidence.”
Knight said the defense is a confident bunch despite having to replace their middle linebacker Kyle Lindley. Knight is ready to step into the role Lindley left vacant.
“I feel like I want to be that guy who makes most of the tackles, I have to be that leader,” he said. “The one who tells the defense what to do, who to look out for and what to look out for and where to line up.”
Other key Trojan defenders are Hunter Smith, Hunter Lucas, Romello Thomas, Adrian “Bug” Dowell and Reggie Caldwell.
“One disappointment would be having more losses than wins at the end of the season,” Flowers said. “With our schedule now I feel we should win more games than we lose. I don’t go into any game expecting to lose. But we should win more games than we lose.”
Flowers added that another Region 8-4A championship and deep run into November are possible.
“Another goal is a banner and we want to go deeper into the playoffs this year than we did last year,” he concluded. “That Ripley game left a bitter taste. That’s another chip on our shoulders. That’s going to help us push through the season and keep pushing and working harder.”