The Millikan High football team is making a habit of sloppy wins on the road.
On Friday night, the Rams overcame a slow start and a pair of running back injuries to beat Gahr 28-20. Last week, Millikan held on for a 7-3 win at Carson.
“I’ll take the victory, but we have a lot of work to do,” Millikan coach Justin Utupo said. “I was very worried this would happen. My biggest concern was that we would come out flat after the game we had last week. We gotta get to work, and it starts with me.”
Millikan (2-0) has started both seasons under Utupo with two wins, and the Rams host Aquinas next week in their home opener. Millikan came into the week ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 7 poll.
Gahr (1-1) leaned heavily on senior running back Micah Bernard, and the University of Utah commit accounted for 170 of the 340 total yards gained by the Gladiators offense. Bernard rushed for 108 yards on 15 carries. He finished the night with three touchdowns, and his second score cut the Millikan lead to 16-13 at halftime.
Millikan lost running backs Qu’Juan Campbell (shoulder) and Jaylen Jefferson (calf) to injury during the game, and that forced the Rams to turn to middle linebacker Joshua Robinson-Little. The junior took over duties in the backfield, and scored a touchdown on his third carry.
“That was a surprise to me,” Robinson-Little said of being called upon. “I play linebacker so I’m aggressive anyway. I just came to the offense, and if I saw somebody, I ran them over.”
“He’s tough,” Utupo said of Robinson-Little. “Whatever we ask him to do, he’s going to do it at 100 MPH. Our philosophy is next man in. I’m pleased with the way we stepped up.”
Robinson-Little finished the game with 50 yards rushing on 10 carries, and he was instrumental in running out the clock of the one-score game.
“I’m not used to running the ball, but they called my name so I came in and did what I have to do,” Robinson-Little said.
Millikan quarterback Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell made some history when he put his team up 28-13 in the fourth quarter. The junior’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Martinez is the 33rd of Campbell-Caldwell’s career, which is the most in school history.
“It’s great,” Campbell-Caldwell said. “I’m proud to be a part of Millikan history. I wasn’t thinking about it, though. I just wanted to win this game. That’s it.”
Millikan beat Gahr last year, 26-16, but the Gladiators rolled over the Rams 50-18 in 2016. These teams played each other every year from 2008-2011 and Gahr won three of the four games by a combined score of 129-60.
QB Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell: 13/24, 166 yards, TD
WR Nathan Martinez: 4 catches, 47 yards, TD
WR Dylan Davis: 3 catches, 56 yards
RB Jaylen Jefferson: 11 carries, 73 yards, 2 TDs
Rams Rushing Offense: 34 carries, 200 yards
Penalties: 80 yards
QB Jordan Simpson: 16/29, 195 yards, TD
RB Micah Bernard: 15 carries, 108 yards, 2 TD (5 catches, 61 yards, TD)
WR Andrew Simpson: 5 catches, 36 yards
Penalties: 95 yards