Football Lakewood Millikan

Football: Big Plays Boost Millikan Over Lakewood

Millikan and Lakewood played a quintessential high school football rivalry game on Friday night. After it’s lack of overall quality was overshadowed by big plays and dramatic lead changes in the second half, the Rams held off the visiting Lancers 28-24 for an important Moore League victory.

Millikan (3-2, 1-1) will keep the Donice Hamilton Trophy for the second consecutive year after beating Lakewood for the first time in 16 years last season.

High School Football: Long Beach Millikan vs. Lakewood

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Lakewood (1-5, 1-1) used an early touchdown pass from Gevani McCoy to Jeremiah White, and a safety caused by Kaleel Carter, to take a 9-7 lead into halftime. However, Millikan running back Qu’Juan Campbell delivered touchdown runs of 54 and 73 yards on his first two carries of the second half to give his team a 21-9 lead.

“I knew it was going to come sooner or later, I was just waiting for it,” Campbell said of his first touchdown of the season. “I knew they were going to give me at least one.”

The Lancers answered quickly with a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Jakob Lemieux, and a touchdown run by McCoy, to take a 24-21 in the third quarter. However, Millikan marched down the field and capped the game-winning drive with a 5-yard touchdown run from senior Jaylen Jefferson. The Millikan defense came up with two key stops in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

“I asked them for effort and enthusiasm at halftime,” Millikan coach Justin Utupo said. “I’m proud of the way our coaches and players adjusted.”

Lakewood had the ball in the Millikan red zone twice in the fourth quarter, but a blocked field goal and a huge sack on fourth down kept the Lancers scoreless for the final 17 minutes of the game. The two teams combined for 36 points in the third quarter.

Rams linebacker Nik Lombardi led his team with seven solo tackles on the night, and the senior showed some rare emotion in the final minutes.

“I just love the energy of this game,” Lombardi said. “My dad went (to Lakewood), my brother went there, and I came here… I just love the rivalry.”

With senior running back Sebastian Kronberger still on the sidelines due to an injury, Lakewood backup James Voorhies was the Lancer workhorse for the second straight week. The junior carried the ball 35 times for 130 yards, and now has 278 yards in the last two weeks.

Voorhies carried the Lancers down to the red zone on their second drive of the game, and McCoy hit White for a 15 yard score on third down to open the scoring.

After the rivals traded possessions, Lemieux pinned Millikan inside their own 5-yard line with a phenomenal punt. Three plays later, Carter came up with one of his three sacks of Rams quarterback Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell in the end zone for the safety and a 9-0 lead.

Lakewood continued to win the field position battle in the second quarter, but on third down from his own 6-yard line, Campbell-Caldwell hit Dylan Davis for a 94-yard touchdown pass down the far sideline.

“Our coaches always tell us to keep our heads straight, and don’t let the other team making plays distract you, because we’re going to make plays too,” Campbell said.

Millikan noticed a Lakewood defensive trend in the first half, and put an extra blocker in its own backfield in the second half. Campbell took full advantage of the tendency on his consecutive long touchdown runs.

“I trust all of my big men blocking for me,” Campbell said.

The kickoff return by Lemieux flipped momentum again, and made it 21-16. After Millikan’s next possession ended on a fourth-down fumble near midfield, McCoy ran the ball in from six yards out to give Lakewood a lead. He then hit White for the two-point conversion that put the Lancers up 24-21 with 4:15 left in the third quarter.

Millikan answered immediately with a six-play, 62-yard scoring drive that was saved by a huge third down pass pickup from Campbell-Caldwell to Zach Martin, and capped by Jefferson’s 5-yard touchdown run.

The three Millikan touchdown runs totaled 134 yards, and the Rams only amassed 135 net rushing yards on the night because of sacks and penalties. Millikan gained 351 total net yards on offense, and only 122 of those yards came on plays that didn’t end in a touchdown.

Lakewood got 120 total yards from McCoy, 130 yards from Voorhies, and finished with 262 total offensive yards. The Lancers didn’t have a run of over 10 yards in the fourth quarter.

“We knew if we could stop the run we’d be successful,” Utupo said. “Lombardi and Andrew Miramontes really stepped up, and I’m proud of the way those guys flew around today on defense.”

Miramontes, who was back on defense after filling in on the offensive line, had a handful of solo tackles and a fumble recovery. He and Lombardi were in on the fourth down sack and effectively ended the game.

“That was a true rivalry game,” Utupo said. “Give credit to Lakewood too because those are some hard-working players and coaches over there.”

In the 61 years they’ve been playing against each other, Lakewood has won 36, Millikan has won 24, and they tied once.

Next week, Millikan is at Compton while Lakewood travels to Camarillo for a nonleague contest.

QB Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell: 11/21, 215 yards, TD
RB Qu’Juan Campbell: 10 carries, 132 yards, 2 TD
WR Dylan Davis: 5 receptions, 122 yards, TD
LB Nik Lombardi: 7 solo tackles
DL Andrew Miramontes: 5 tackles, fumble recovery
QB Gevani McCoy: 9/15, 90 yards, TD
RB James Voorhies: 35 carries, 130 yards
WR Jeremiah White: 5 receptions, 61 yards, TD
DL Kaleel Carter: 6 solo tackles, 3 sacks

PHOTOS: Millikan vs. Lakewood, Football

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.