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Prep football stakes rise for local Round-I winners

Eight Memphis area high schools, including Melrose, Central and the Memphis Academy for the Health Sciences (MAHS), are still alive after the first round of the TSSAA football playoffs, with this week bringing another chance to advance toward the state championships.

Melrose edged Milan (32-28), MAHS hammered Camden (50-6) and Central outlasted Kenwood (35-29). Whitehaven, Kirby, Ridgeway and Freedom Prep were among the teams whose seasons ended with first-round losses.

‘Very gratifying’

At the half, Melrose trailed 14-8 before dominating the second half. Running back Jermaine Dodson rushed for three touchdowns.

“It is very gratifying,” said Melrose head coach Cedric Wilson about moving on to the second round..

“The pandemic was a handicap for the entire city. … We were able to get back to work in late April. Eighty percent of the team did not come back to us until the first part of school.”

Added to the mix of challenges was the “amount of pressure on those kids to perform at a high level with Orange Mound expectations,” said Wilson, concluding that it “was tough.”

Head coach Cedric Wilson and his five-loss Melrose team next face undefeated Haywood County. (Photo: Cedric Miller)

Melrose (6-5) next faces undefeated Haywood County (11-0) and Wilson said the Golden Wildcats will “have to play a perfect ball game” to advance.

“Haywood County is one of the best teams in the state. They have several Division 1 football players on their team. They are senior heavy. We only have 5 seniors on the team.”

‘A great team win’

MAHS’s 50-to-6 romp over Camden was led by Cameron Miller, a University of Tennessee commit for the next season and a finalist for Mr. Football Class 2A.

Miller, who plays multiple positions, including running back, wide receiver and defensive back, rushed for 264 yards. Fellow running back Kumaro Brown piled up 172 yards.

“It was a great team win. We were physical up front,” said MAHS head coach Cedric Miller. “They triple team Cam (Cameron) and we just ran down their throats. My offensive line did a great job.”

MAHS (10-1) next will host Huntingdon (9-2).

Questionable calls

Leading 35-14 at halftime, Central did not score after the break but held on for the six-point win over Kenwood.

Central’s Jamarious Brooks was too much to handle for Kenwood. (Photo: Terry Davis)

Jamarious Brooks, a finalist for Mr. Football Class 5A, rushed for 308 yards and scored three touchdowns. He also threw for a touchdown.

There were questionable calls near the end of the game that allowed Kenwood to extend drives and to score some late touchdowns. The Central faithful clearly were not too happy with the calls.

Central (9-2) has a second-round matchup against Springfield (9-2).

Round 2

The Memphis-area schools still alive and in the hunt for titles are Lausanne, CBHS, Briarcrest, Central, Collierville, Fairley, MAHS and Melrose). Briarcrest, Collierville, Lausanne and MAHS will host games. All games will be played on Friday (Nov. 12) at 7 p.m.

Here is the schedule:

  • 2A – Fairley (9-2) at Westview (10-1); Huntington (9-2) at MAHS (10-1)
  • 4A – Melrose (6-5) at Haywood (11-0)
  • 5A – Central (9-2) at Springfield (9-2)
  • 6A – Ravenwood (9-2) at Collierville (11-0)
  • DII-AA – BGA (6-5) at Lausanne (8-1)
  • DII-AAA – Christian Brothers (7-4) at Briarcrest (9-1)

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