By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Back in August the Dyer County Choctaws were not on the Millington Trojan radar.
But in the year of COVID-19, football schedules have been modified somewhat over the past three months. So Millington Central High School Homecoming 2020 featured the match up of Dyer County vs. Millington. The Class 5A Choctaws brought their balanced attack to Mooney Boswell Field to provide a challenge for the Trojans.
Dyer County used a sound offense and timely defense to ruin Homecoming 2020 for Millington 34-14.
“I give them credit,” Millington Head Coach Chris Michael said. “We felt like that was a really good team. Honestly we felt like that was the best team on our schedule watching them on film and based off who they’ve played. They showed from the interior to the perimeter with all their skill players, we felt like they were a really solid football team.
“Our kids took the challenge and we had a short work week with JV on Monday and we moved the game up to Thursday,” he continued. “We had to focus really hard on what they did well. I felt we had a good practice both days preparing. When we execute our game plan we did really well on the defensive side. It’s still a work in progress on offense. But we were able to do some things we worked on this week on offense.”
Millington (2-6) hit a few big plays on during the night but Dyer County only allowed a pair of Trojan touchdowns.
The Choctaws (5-2) reached paydirt five times before the final buzzer. Dyer County’s first touchdown of the night came 9 minutes into the game when Brayln Taylor scored on a 2-yard run to cap off a 63-yard drive.
Dyer County took a 14-0 advantage into the locker room after Daruis Lovins crossed the goal line on an 11-yard run.
Throughout the night Choctaw Josh Stewart was a threat on offense as a quarterback, receiver and running back. The 6’3, all-purpose senior broke loose for a 66-yard run early in the third quarter to make the tally 21-0.
Dyer County neutralized the Millington offense in the first two and half quarters with eight players in the box. The Trojan passing game led by freshman quarterback McCoy Pugh had a few highlights leading to Marquez Flowers getting Millington on the scoreboard with a 26-yard touchdown.
Ahead 21-7, Dyer County and Stewart reestablished the 21-point advantage with 3:48 left in the third period. Stewart ended the Choctaw drive with a 3-yard TD run.
Before the final whistle of the third quarter, McCoy displayed his talented left arm hitting senior wide out Reggie Caldwell in stride. Caldwell raced to the end zone for an 82-yard touchdown and made the score 28-14.
The only touchdown of the fourth quarter iced the game for the Choctaws when Taylor scored on a short run. The final score would be 34-14.
“Offensively we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times,” Michael acknowledged. “But defensively is where our own inconsistency hurt us. Offensively it was going to be a struggle against their front. We knew that. The offensive played fairly well and did what it could to get points on the board. Defensively I thought we played really well at times but when we made a mistake they pounced on it.”
When Michael addressed his team in the end zone for the postgame, he announced at the moment the regular season has concluded on Oct. 8.
“Since back in August I’ve been working trying to build a schedule from week to week to week,” he said. “Never knowing who we were going to play or when we were going to play. It’s kind of fallen together as we’ve gone. Now we’ve gotten to the end and everybody’s schedules are filled. There’s very little options for us to get a game. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get a game in these last three weeks.”
If the Trojan don’t touch the field again in October, their next game will be a playoff game at Mooney Boswell Field on Nov. 6 for the first round of the Class 4A playoffs against Crockett County.
“We’re going to take a little time off during Fall Break and then we’re going to come back,” Michael concluded. “You never know because it’s an ever changing world out there. Somebody may be calling tomorrow morning or early next week. That’s how most of these games have occurred. One closes down and another spot opens up. So we may be able to find one. But right now as it stands, we don’t have anything.”