A little more than halfway through the first quarter, the Millikan Rams (2-2) found themselves on the wrong end of a 30-0 deficit on Thursday night, enduring an avalanche from the host Orange Panthers (4-0) in all facets of the game.
Orange got three first-half rushing touchdowns from quarterback Daylen Pedroza, helping them to a healthy 44-6 halftime lead. The Panthers also got two punt return touchdowns from Raymond Casillas and returned two interceptions for scores in a 73-20 rout of the visiting Rams.
“They’re a well-oiled machine right now. They’re winning and they’re doing a good job over there,” said Millikan head coach Romeo Pellum of Millikan’s opponent. They were better than us today. We can’t give up two scores on special teams, then give up two pick sixes, that hurt tremendously with the momentum of the game. They scored really, really fast. When you get hit in the mouth, we can’t get discouraged. We have to fight back. It’s a learning experience. It sucks to lose like this, but we will get better.”
Millikan did have a few bright spots, including freshman Ryan Pellum, who got his fair share of looks on Thursday night. Pellum received 20 targets in the passing game, and ended up with nine total offensive touches for 135 yards and a pair of scores. The first touchdown was through the air as he elevated for a 16-yard TD grab from sophomore quarterback Peter Kim to put the Rams on the board with 3:05 left in the opening frame.
Pellum also scored early in the second half, taking a reverse 80 yards for a score, knifing through the Orange secondary untouched while showing off his trademark speed. Kim also connected with Jhae Drummer for a 46-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter, giving Drummer three touchdown catches in his last two games.
Pedroza got the Panthers on the board within the opening minute of the game with an 18-yard touchdown scamper, then delivered his lone passing touchdown of the night on his next drive, a 43-yard strike to Issac Adetoye. Pedroza ran in two more touchdowns on the final two Orange drives of the first half to put the game out of reach.
The Panthers rushing attack controlled the game with 322 yards on 32 carries with five touchdowns. Isaiah Adetoye led the way with 146 yards on nine carries and a score.
Matthew Martinez added four catches for 38 yards for Millikan while running back Ajae Gravelly had 42 yards on 10 carries and also hauled in four catches for 24 yards.
Millikan will return to Moore League play next Thursday when they host Wilson at 7pm. Meanwhile, Orange will travel to Long Beach to play St. Anthony next Friday.