In Region 8 Class 2A every game counts. This is one of the most super competitive districts in the state. In an early season matchup, Memphis Academy of Health Sciences (MAHS) hosted Mitchell for this district opening game.
Fairley High has won the last two district championships. The MAHS Lions and the Mitchell Tigers want to bring an end to that reign.
In a game that could have gone either way, Mitchell defeated MAHS 18-6, and now sport a 3-0 record (2-0 in the division). This was a classic no one deserves to lose the game and the final score was not indicative of how the game was played.
“It’s the first game that gave us some competition. This tells us where we really are,” said Mitchell head coach Nathan Cole. “Big-time players (like Sow) make big time plays, but we are not a one man team. Everybody played a part.”
The Lions had the first opportunity to get onto the scoreboard. The Lions opening drive got them to the 22-yard line before a fumble by Mitchell WR Robert Johnson. The MAHS senior DB Damien Johnson recovered the fumble to end the drive.
Both teams played stout defense, holding each other at bay, but eventually Lions QB Demetrius Visor connected with Cameron Miller for a 34-yard reception. The Lions had it first and goal from the 8-yard line.
Once more, MAHS’ Johnson came up big for the Tigers, intercepting a pass into the end zone to end the drive. Later, Tigers QB Hadem Sow connected with Emmanuel Wallace for 64 yards and Joseph Adams on a 16-yard touchdown reception for a 6-0 Mitchell halftime lead.
In the second half, the Lions got back to want they do best: running the football. MAHS went on a 93-yard scoring drive capped off with a one-yard TD run by junior RB Jahmil Bowen to tie the score at 6-6 on the third play of the fourth quarter.
The Tigers responded with a touchdown of their own after starting from the 50-yard line. The Lions thought they had the Tigers in a bad situation – third down with 33 yards to go for a first down. But Sow made a couple of good moves to charge into the end zone to give the Tigers the lead 12-6 with 6:58 left in the game.
Sow finished with 121 passing yards completing six of 13 attempts with one passing touchdown and no interceptions. Sow would also be the leading rushing for the Tigers with 59 rushing yards.
The Lions made one last push with just two minutes to play, but MAHS snagged an interception and ran it back for a 65-yard touchdown, providing the final score.
MAHS Head Coach Cedric Miller had pointed thoughts on how he felt the game was officiated.
“It’s a shame. This game is supposed to be about kids. When the adults take over a game, especially when one of the kids had to be carted off. It is unacceptable,” Miller said. “Give Mitchell the credit. We will live to fight another day.”
The Mitchell Tigers take on the Ridgeway Roadrunners on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. The MAHS Lions will try to get back on track as they face the Manassass Tigers on Thursday September 12 at 7 p.m. at Crump Stadium.
INJURY REPORT: MAHS junior RB Landon Wright was injured with 29 seconds left in the third quarter. The game was stopped for nearly forty minutes as he was given medical attention on the field. Wright was transported to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Reportedly, Wright was able to move his arms and legs, but no further updates were available as of this writing. Wright had 78 rushing yards on 10 attempts before leading the game. MAHS head coach Cedric Miller thoughts and prayers went out to his fallen player Wright and was going to check up on him.