Football Millikan

PREVIEW: Millikan Football Hosts Pacifica In CIF Opener

Millikan football is hosting its second CIF Southern Section postseason game in as many years for the first time since before the current Rams were even born. After a season full of injuries and adjustments, Millikan welcomes Pacifica tonight at 7 p.m. for the first round of the Division 7 playoffs.

Coach Justin Utupo said his entire program is getting better by preparing for this playoff game now that the freshman team can join varsity practice.

“We’re getting a good look from our underclassman,” he said. “The scout team trying to simulate the opponent is very key in the postseason. It’s nice to have seniors and juniors who’ve been in the playoffs showing them how we prepare. The younger kids are learning that if you don’t take care of your preparation during the week, you can’t just expect to turn it on Friday night.”

Millikan (7-2) is on a five-game winning streak thanks to some narrow victories over Lakewood and Wilson in Moore League play. Quarterback Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell has passed for 1,357 yards this season with 14 touchdowns. More than 600 yards and five touchdowns of that has gone to senior receiver Dylan Davis.

READ MORE about how Davis turned himself into a go-to target.

Pacifica (5-5) has lost two of its last three games, and is the second place finisher out of the Empire League. The Mariners are led by a strong ground attack and running back Rai Sagastume. The senior is averaging seven yards per carry with a team-high nine touchdowns. Utupo said his team will have to be careful with game-changers on both offense and defense against a team that has a lot of utility players.

“Pacific has tons of players going both ways, but you couldn’t tell watching on film,” Utupo said. “They’ve got tough players. On offense, they remind me of Aquinas. We started fast in that game, but it’s about all four quarters of football. Hopefully we can put it all together tonight.”

Millikan lost back to back games against Aquinas and Long Beach Poly early in the season. The Rams are a completely different team now, with a lot of key players back from injury, and they’ll look to dominate this game defensively. Millikan has allowed 169 points this season, and Pacifica has allowed 264 points.

Come back for LIVE score updates from all of the Long Beach football games tonight.

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.