Millikan has a tough test to open the shortened 2020-21 season, making the short trip behind the Orange Curtain to take on Los Alamitos for a 6 p.m. game on opening night.
These nearby rivals represent a compelling week one matchup, as both teams garnered extensive club football experience while waiting for the 2020-21 season. Both teams may have finished under .500 last season—Los Al went 4-7 in 2019 and Millikan was 3-7—but expectations are high for both programs in 2021. There will be elite talent on both sidelines, and Millikan should get an idea of just how ready they are to contend for a Moore League title.
The Griffins boast a pair of elite national recruits in the sophomore class. Quarterback Malachi Nelson is a 6-foot-3 pro-style quarterback who gained some varsity experience last season, but is officially “the guy” for Los Al this season. Classmate Makai Lemon is a dangerous weapon at wide receiver and corner for the Griffins, and it will require a collective effort from the Rams’ defense to contain this dynamic duo.
Both Nelson and Lemon have received extensive interest from high-major Division I programs, and both players have scholarship offers in hand from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, USC, and others.
Millikan head coach Romeo Pellum sees similarities between the two teams. The Rams also have a standout at wide receiver/corner in junior Tacario Davis, who recently committed to Arizona. They will also debut freshman Ryan Pellum, a dynamic all-purpose athlete with more than 20 scholarship offers from around the country.
However, having Nelson at quarterback with the ball in his hands every play is a plus for Los Al. Meanwhile Millikan will be breaking in senior Will Madonna at the QB spot after the senior transferred in from Mayfair.
“I think our teams are similarly built, but the big difference is the quarterback play because they have Malachi,” Romeo Pellum said about the matchup. “I think it’s going to come down to our quarterback playing a good football game, and it’s going to come down to coaching. They have really good coaches so we’ll have to go coach our butts off. If we do that, I think we’ll be okay.”
Attendance at the game will be limited to only parents or family members of the players, but the game will be live-streamed online by the NFHS Network. Come back to The562.org for full coverage of the game.
This week on the show we catch up with Millikan football coach Romeo Pellum to talk about opening the season on Friday against Los Alamitos and why the Griffins aren’t allowing any Millikan parents at the game. Support our journalism.