Millikan is one of the most intriguing teams in the city this year, and they’ll get a solid test out of the gate against a capable Santa Ana Saints program on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Rams have plenty of top-end talent, but are also fairly inexperienced.
Rams fans will get to see the official debut of highly-touted sophomore quarterback Myles Jackson, who dazzled in a Saturday afternoon scrimmage last season. But the Friday night lights provide a different stage, and Santa Ana will provide stiffer resistance for Jackson and his bountiful supply of offensive weapons–including sophomore All-American Ryan Pellum.
The visiting Saints, meanwhile, are riding high after a 6-0 season this spring. They ended the year with an impressive 36-34 win over Orange High to claim the Orange Coast League title. Millikan fans may remember that team from Orange–the Panthers beat the Rams 73-20 earlier in the spring season.
Santa Ana will have to replace quarterback Angel Vega and top receiver Isaac Larriva from last season, but standout running back Jason Costa will provide the firepower for the Saints’ attack. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a junior last season, and also caught 11 passes out of the backfield. Transfer wide receiver Raymond Casillas is a major playmaker who put up big numbers at Orange High in the spring, including a pair of punt return touchdowns in the win against Millikan.
Pellum is an electric return man in his own right, meaning special teams could be a key in this game. The Rams were throttled by a very talented Los Alamitos team in last year’s opener, but Santa Ana should present a more favorable challenge this time around. Either way, this is Millikan’s first opportunity to show how much it has improved this offseason.