The Millikan football program is in the midst of a golden age. The Rams have won a home playoff game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1979-80, and tonight they’ll play in their second straight CIF Southern Section quarterfinal. Millikan (8-2) welcomes Culver City (9-2) at 7:30 p.m. in Division 7 action.
“I’m very proud,” said Millikan second-year coach Justin Utupo. “This is rare. I’m happy for the kids because they get the opportunity to play in front of their family and friends on their home field. It’s great for the community, but also plays a key role for the momentum of the playoffs.”
Last week, Millikan played its most complete game of the season in a 53-6 win over Pacifica. Quarterback Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell was near perfect in the first half while he completed six of his seven passing attempts for 121 yards and three touchdowns to Nathan Martinez, Dylan Davis and Jayden Davis. The junior finished the night 14/18 for 232 yards and four touchdowns, and now holds the school record for both career yardage and touchdown passes. Campbell-Caldwell has passed for 1,589 yards this season with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions.
“You can see the game slowing down for him,” Utupo said of his quarterback. “We know our next opponent will give us different challenges. But if (Campbell-Caldwell) sticks to his preparation he’ll keep getting better.”
Culver City also easily won its playoff opener 55-7 over Santa Barbara last week. The Centaurs finished second in the Ocean League, and are on a five-game winning streak after outscoring their opponents 531-187 this season. Sophomore quarterback Zevi Eckhaus has a passer rating of 130.3 on MaxPreps.com with 33 touchdowns and five interceptions. Eckhaus has thrown for 2,283 yards while completing 63 percent of his attempts.
“The key to beating Culver City is to slow down their passing attack and control the game on offense,” Utupo said.
“We’re just going out there to have fun,” Millikan senior captain and corner back De’jon Vanhook said. “To be honest, I don’t really care if their receivers have (scholarship) offers or stars or whatever. My receivers have stars too, and we lock them up in practice as well. We’re going to let them know we’re not the team to throw on.”