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Story By Robert Wilson
Germantown interim coach Scott Brown has been coaching football for 26 years, 19 of those years as a head coach and most of those years as a defensive coordinator, so he knows the importance of defensive scores.
Those were huge in Germantown’s 40-26 victory over Lake Charles, La., College Prep Friday night at Germantown in a battle of two teams ranked in the Top 40 in their respective states and featuring two of the top running backs in the nation and future SEC stars.
Senior linebacker Devin Arrington returned a fumble 28 yards for Germantown’s first score, senior defensive back Raveon Jones returned a fumble 67 yards in the second half for another Germantown score and the Mavericks defense scored a safety in the second half.
Those three plays helped Class 6A Germantown, ranked No. 36 in Mississippi by MaxPreps, win its second straight game this season and improve to 2-0. The Mavericks finished 5-6 last season. This was the first game for Class 3A Lake Charles, ranked No. 25 in Louisiana by MaxPreps. The Trailblazers finished 9-1 last season and lost to Union Parish 43-42 when Union Parish made a two-point conversion with 20 seconds to play in the LHSAA Class 3A semifinals.
The game was scheduled because Germantown’s opponent, Canton, had covid issues and Lake Charles’ opponent, Plaquemine High located near Baton Rouge, had Hurricane Ida issues. A friend of one of Germantown’s coaches had a connection with Lake Charles and helped get the game scheduled.
The game featured Germantown senior running back Branson Robinson, a Georgia commitment who is rated as the No. 3 running back in the country by 247 Sports, and Lake Charles senior running back TreVonte Citizen, an LSU commit who is rated as the No. 11 running back in the country by 247 Sports. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Robinson – an Under Armour All-American All-Star Game selection and a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Elite Eleven – had 61 yards and three TDs on 20 carries Friday. The 6-foot, 215-pound Citizen had 177 yards and one TD.
Germantown allowed some yards, but the defensive scores helped tremendously. The Mavs’ defense is led by Elite Eleven member Zxavian Harris, a 6-8, 335-pound senior defensive lineman and Ole Miss commit. Harris is rated as the No. 4 player in Mississippi and No. 24 defensive lineman in the country by 247 Sports. Harris played well – seven tackles and one fumble recovery and bottled up the middle – but Germantown had several others to set up on defense. Senior linebacker Bo Eldridge had a game-high 12 tackles, quite impressive since Eldridge was moved from tight end to linebacker a week and a half ago. Junior safety Andrew Dinkelacker had nine tackles and was inserted into the starting lineup due to a covid issue of one of Germantown’s players. Arrington had eight tackles.
“It was big getting those scoring plays by our defense,” said Brown, who was promoted from his defensive coordinator position when longtime Germantown athletic director and head coach Tim Shramek took a job with the MSHAA. Brown is in his seventh season at Germantown. He was head coach at Clinton for 16 seasons (15 doubling as defensive coordinator) and Pontotoc for two seasons (doubling as DC for both seasons), defensive coordinator at Clinton an additional five seasons and at Northwest Rankin for one season.
“Any time you get points from the defense was extra for your team. Devin’s fumble return for a score put us ahead first and Raven’s fumble return in the second half and the safety in the second half were very important to our team. We had several injuries on defense in the second half and we had some players set up and play well in their place.”
Lake Charles averaged 38.6 points with a high of 73 last season and finished ranked No. 38 in Louisiana, three spots behind Newman, led by quarterback Arch Manning – Archie Manning’s grandson and the No. 1 player in the nation in the class of 2023 by 247 Sports.