The quarterback bounced the ball and MAHS defensive end Charles perkins came running as one of his teammates let him go. The 6-3, 245-pound senior picked it up and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.
Then he did it a second time.
Prior to the game, Perkins had no college offers. With Shelby County schools unable to play last year, he had no junior game of the year movie to show college coaches.
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All of that changed less than 24 hours after Thursday’s season opened at Melrose. Campbell University called and offered it to him the next day.
The decision by Shelby County schools to play football this year did more than just provide an outlet for kids like Perkins. It is about reclaiming opportunities for further education through athletics that were once lost.
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“He’s been a starter for me for the past four years,” said MAHS coach Cedric Miller. “He’s got a great engine. We’ve got a lot of hidden gems, and if they had had the chance to play last year, you would have seen a lot of these guys who just came on the radar.”
And even for players who were already on college coaching radar, like Central’s Yale Quincy Briggs pledge, the first Memphis Public High School football weekend since 2019 brought back the joy of being able to compete.
“It was fun, fun, fun. I made my first game one to remember,” said Briggs, who scored four touchdowns in Central’s 49-7 win over Cordova. “I’m happy, I’m so happy. They counted us out. I just want them to see what Central got.”
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The final game of the weekend, Saturday night’s game between Germantown and Christian Brothers, was an instant classic. Christian Brothers won in overtime, thanks to a pair of touchdowns from Ohio State’s Dallan Hayden and a winning touchdown from Whit Collard.
The end game was spectacular, and while the game didn’t go in Germantown’s direction, the Red Devils put in a solid performance, especially considering the time they didn’t play.
And it was a cool vibe. The crowd was packed to pre-pandemic levels for a first-rate clash between a public school and a private school. Players and coaches from other teams came just to hang out and watch.
The weekend showed just how fun the Memphis high school football scene can be with all of the returning teams. And it showed exactly how much that means for coaches and kids.
“It’s fun to see the kids having fun outside of school where they can commune with each other like before,” Miller said. “Even though during this pandemic you need to make sure you do the right things and keep the kids as safe as possible just to see the smiles on their faces and see them playing the game they’ve grown up with all their lives and love. brings nothing but joy to my heart. ”