By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Sept. 11 was a night of first for the 2020 Millington Trojans
The obvious one was a victory capturing a 41-6 decision over the visiting Halls Tigers. But other benchmarks reached Friday night were first offensive touchdown courtesy of senior speedster Reggie Caldwell.
It was the first offensive carries for senior linebacker Devin Knight. Freshman quarterback McCoy Pugh recorded his first touchdown pass on varsity hitting favorite target Garrett Haley. And the fore-mention first team win goes into the “W” category for the young signal caller.
“It’s been a tough start,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michael acknowledged. “We knew it was going to be a tough start with the schedule falling apart then building back together. It was way tougher than we had anticipated.
“Those young guys they have to keep growing up and they’ve got to keep getting better,” he continued. “The older guys did a much better job this week preparing. They did a better job keeping everybody focused, doing the little things. We made sure we were taking care of ourselves. You can’t worry about anybody else or so much about what the other team is doing. So we had some good guidance and examples of leadership on the field this week.”
Caldwell displayed his senior leadership by example using two big runs to make the score 13-0 less than 5 minutes into the game. After Caldwell’s first TD made the tally 7-0, the Millington defense set up his next scoring run.
Trojan defensive back Perry Harrold forced a fumble recovered by defensive end Drew Hassenberg. A couple of plays later Caldwell was back in the end zone from 9 yards out.
About 3 minutes later, personal history took place for Pugh. The freshman dropped back and hit Haley in stride for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Pugh’s first TD connection made the score 20-0 once Eli Roberts drilled the extra point.
Millington (1-3) finished the first period up 20 points. The Trojans tallied 21 points in the second quarter to ice the game.
Caldwell was back at it again. This time Pugh hit the senior athlete for a touchdown pass to make the score 27-0.
As Pugh got comfortable, he located another target in Courtlyn Barnes for a 55-yard TD pass up the middle of the field. The Millington offense put 34 points on the scoreboard.
The final touchdown came courtesy of Knight. With a new role of carrying the ball on offense, Knight made a couple of first-down runs in the first half.
But his primary role for the Trojans is middle linebacker. Knight was all over the field throughout the night making several tackles. But at the 2:20 mark of the second quarter, Knight read the Halls quarterback eyes and stepped in front of his pass for an interception inside the 30-yard line.
Knight raced to the end zone for the score and made the tally 41-0.
Halls scored a late touchdown to avoid the shutout. By the final buzzer, the Trojans finally had a check mark in the win column.
“The young guys, they’re hungry,” Michael said. “So they’re still going to make mistakes. We had a bunch that played and started again tonight. They were improved and played a much better game. McCoy played a really nice game. His guys around him did a really nice job on the blocking.
“The running back did a good job on running the ball and holding onto the ball,” he added. “Receivers caught passes. McCoy made good decisions in the passing game. Everything just clicked. And we needed it, we were due. We had a bunch of opportunities in the those other games, Ripley, Munford and Brighton. But those are really good teams. We weren’t taking advantage of the opportunities we had and it snowballed on us in the other way.”
Originally scheduled to play the Trezevant Bears Sept. 18 at home, Shelby County Schools athletics are still on the sideline because of COVID-19. Millington had to search for a new opponent and the Crockett County Cavaliers are now on the agenda for next week.
“Everything is impromptu this year,” Michael said. “It’s still about us. They’re going to be really, really good. They’ve already beaten Ripley. They just run a unique style of offense that is hard to prepare for. No matter how good you are or how seasoned you are, you’re going to have a difficult time preparing for that offense. It’s going to be a huge challenge for us defensively.
“But we need to play,” he concluded. “I have a bunch of guys who need games. Stretching every stone and turning over ever stone looking for games, trying to find anybody or anything as schedules fall apart and start to deteriorate. Things appear and then they don’t, this was the only thing we could come up with. I don’t mind putting that challenge in front of my guys. I would have liked to have it home but in order to get it work, we had to go up there.”