The opening contest of the 2022 high school football season for the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering Phoenix could not have been scripted better for the squad.
Led by first-year head coach Cedric Miller, who transitioned over from now-closed Memphis Academy of Health and Sciences program, the Phoenix (1-0) stormed, pushed, and mauled the Harding Academy Lions (0-2) 46-0 Friday (Aug. 26) night.
The score is a bit deceiving. MASE led 30-0 at the end of the first period, prohibiting the Lions from crossing midfield until late in the second half.
By that time, the game had long been decided, with the starters from MASE sitting on the sidelines.
With Harding Academy featuring a roster of mostly freshmen and sophomores, the more experienced Phoenix pounced at the opportunity to make a statement in their first contest of the season.
To open the contest, MASE quarterback Demetrius Vizor threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to put the Phoenix up 8-0. That was all they needed, but to further accentuate their dominance, MASE scored three more touchdowns during the period.
Defensive tackle Kristian Miller, after the game, was hesitant to marvel at his team’s performance, but thinks the one-sided victory represented a sign of things to come this season.
“We started off slowly, but we built momentum which allowed us to execute our assignments,” Miller said.
Execution played a significant role in the dominating performance. MASE scored on offense, defense, and special teams.
Harding Academy, undermanned and outnumbered on the offensive and defensive lines, lacked the talent to keep par with the Phoenix.
Coach Miller, while impressed by his team’s performance, does not want the game to get to his players’ heads. He knows they have the potential to do even better.
“We want to get better every week of the season. I don’t want us to peak too early. We got to stay humble and injury free.”
MASE star running back Kumaro Brown, who has attracted interest from several colleges, racked up chunks of yardage on the ground.
With fellow running back Christopher Watson also finding the end zone later in the contest, Brown realized this team features the potential to make a deep run.
“We have one of the biggest lines in the city, and that certainly helps us out,” he said. “I am already looking forward to next week and getting another win.”
MASE faces Middle College Saturday (Sept. 3) as they attempt to continue their winning ways, while Harding Academy seeks to capture their first win of the season against First Assembly Christian School.