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Devils’ Due Process: Germantown survives second round


Last year the 11-0 Germantown Red Devils’ special season came to an end at 11-1.

Cruising ahead 24-0 Friday night, the Red Devil faithful were feeling pretty good in the stands of the Germantown Football Stadium during the Class 6A Second Round contest. But the visiting Memphis Central Warriors were not ready to give up and rallied with 19 points late in the second half.

The Warriors had possession of the ball with less than 3 minutes remaining in the contest. Then the Red Devils created a timely turnover to preserve a 24-19 victory.

“Our guys kept playing hard throughout the game,” Germantown Head Coach Chris Smith said. “Their guys kept playing hard. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit for the intensity and physicality they played with. It was not easy.

“When you play 6A team and to get out of Memphis playing these same Region opponents twice is hard,” he added. “Both teams knew each other well and we knew the intensity level in which you have to play with to win this game. Hats off to them but our kids made some big plays when they had to. We had some big drives, special teams made some big plays and defense made some big stops when we needed them.”

Back in October the Warriors played the unbeaten Red Devils tough losing 28-7. Fast forward to Nov. 9, Germantown still has a zero in the loss column.

The Red Devils (12-0) demonstrated why they were undefeated with the defense creating a 10-0 lead. Germantown defensive end Jordan Kirby created a tackle-for-loss and fumble. To complete the hat trick, Kirby recovered the ball giving Germantown possession at the 39 yard line.

At the 7:29 mark of the first quarter, Marshall Ware drilled a 20-yard field goal to make the score 3-0. The Red Devil advantage grew to 10-0 later in the period when several Germantown defender blitzed the Central quarterback leading to a fumble recovered by linebacker Tony Sewell.

Both defenses picked up the intensity in the second quarter. Then Germantown had a breakthrough at the 3:53 mark. Red Devil play maker Cameron Baker catch a screen pass from quarterback Ethan Payne.

Baker made a couple of defenders miss and raced to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown and 17-0 advantage before the half.

The Red Devils received the ball first in the second half. It appeared Germantown wrapped up the competitive phase of the game when Eric Foster plowed into the end zone from 1-yard out.

The Warriors (8-4) trailed 24-0 at the 6-minute and 16-second mark of the third quarter. Central displayed some life scoring a touchdown on a 36-yard run.

The tally was 24-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Central had even more life pumped into their playoff veins when Kevin Shaw broke loose on the sideline for a 49-yard scoring run. The deficit was cut in half with 9 minutes and 57 seconds remaining.

About 3 minutes later the Warriors got another long touchdown run to make the score 24-19. Germantown looked to ice the game but penalties help shut the Red Devils fourth quarter drive down.

Central gained possession late in the period with a chance to end the Germantown season at 11-1 just like the White Station Spartans did in 2017.

The Warriors’ chance at a win dropped from their hands in a flash. With a Central receiver catching a pass near the sideline, the ball was striped away by a Red Devil. It appeared the ball might have bounced out of bounds. An alert Germantown defender picked up the ball.

Once the officials had a conference, the play was ruled a turnover and the Red Devils were awarded the ball. Germantown survived and advanced to the Class 6A Quarterfinals to play the Whitehaven Tigers.

“Penalties,” Smith noted of his team’s main issue. “Every time we don’t have penalties on offense, we score about 90 percent of the time. The 15-yarders hurt, especially when you play good teams in the 6A league.

“We’ve had moments this year when the offense has picked things up,” he continued. “We had moments when the defense has had to pick things up. We’ve had moments when special teams has picked things up like burying folks inside the 5 or 10 yard line. The whole year you have to be good at all three phases of the game to still be in it at 6A. Them being all clean at the same time? That’s the goal. That doesn’t necessarily happen all the time. But they are capable of stepping up and making plays.”

Germantown’s next opponent is familiar with the Red Devils beating Whitehaven 37-19 back on Oct. 26. The Tigers outlasted the Houston Mustangs 31-27 in the Second Round.

Smith said Whitehaven will be a tough task in the next round. But he’s glad his players got a taste of adversity against Central.

“This is good in a sense because we had to battle until the very end,” he concluded. “This was a team we played earlier and beat them by a wider margin the first time. So now we know not to overlook an opponent you beat earlier. No team stays the same. You either getting better or worse. And all the teams playing now are getting better.”

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