The Lions of the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences (MAHS) and Mitchell High School’s Tigers both had circled their schedules to note the importance of their Region 8 Class 2A matchup.
The thinking was that the game could go a long way to determine who would win the district title. In that context, the Lions (4-0, 3-1) took a significant step forward with their 28-6 victory over the Tigers (3-1, 1-1) at Melrose Stadium.
“I think this is a good team, but in the end, it came down to will and guts and who wanted it more,” said MAHS head coach Cedric Miller.
“We were more physical in our run game. All the naysayers that say we have not played anybody, we just play who is on our schedule.”
Mitchell head coach Nate Cole expects his Tigers to face the Lions again this season, perhaps in the third round of the playoffs.
“We have a young team. We got to make sure our kids understand that we can’t just lay down,” said Cole. “They got frustrated with all of the calls.”
The Tigers showed some early power, forcing MAHS to fumble on the two-yard line after the Lions had moved the football down the field after recovering the opening onside kick. Mitchell’s Joseph Adams recovered the fumble.
After an interception by the Tigers defense, Mitchell got on the scoreboard first when a four-play, 14-yard drive was capped off with a 12-yard run by Antonio Jenkins. The extra point was no good.
The Lions’ defense held the Tigers scoreless the rest of the game as MAHS’ offense closed out the game with a 28-0 run. Cameron Miller scored first for MAHS with 7:38 left in the first quarter. A two-point conversion made the score 8-6.
After Lions quarterback Demetrius Visor connected with Jalen Dale on an 11-yard touchdown, MAHS extended the lead to 16-6 with another two-point conversion.
Determined to ride its ground game, MAHS ran the football 21 times, passing only seven times. Miller had 121 rushing yards, including a 79-yard run on the first play of the second half.
Before the second-half kickoff, Miller had complained about cramping. After scoring the touchdown, he went down in the end zone with cramping, which remained an issue the rest of the game.
With the Lions up 22-6, Dale intercepted a Mitchell pass and went 82 yards for a pick-six touchdown to close out the scoring in the third quarter. The Lions defense intercepted five passes, including two by Kumaro Brown.
Mitchell was limited to 60 rushing yards and gained 112 through the air.
MAHS’ next game will be a non-district matchup on the road at Brighton. Mitchell will look to get back on the winning track with a visit to district rival Hillcrest to play the Vikings (1-4, 1-2) on Friday (September 24).