Millikan football was all business in the Moore League opener at Jordan on Friday night. The Rams showed poise and persistence in their 42-0 win over the Panthers.
“We’re growing,” said Millikan receiver Angelo Miranda, who finished the night with 144 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Millikan (2-3) but got off to a slow start with wasted opportunities but the longer the game went the more comfortable quarterback Myles Jackson looked. He completed seven of his last nine pass attempts and two of them were for touchdowns.
“They have a really good defensive line so we had to adjust and pick up different coverages and then we found more success in the second half,” Jackson said.
Jordan (2-3) turned the ball over four times in the first half but its defense played very well in limiting Millikan to only 21 points at halftime. Dylan Falefitu had a pair of sacks for the Panthers.
Millikan has had trouble with penalties this season and coach Romeo Pellum has set up a system of accountability during practice where the Rams have to run and do conditioning based on how many penalties were called on them that week. The Rams only committed one penalty in the second half on Friday.
“They’re holding each other accountable because not just one person is getting punished, the entire team is getting punished,” Pellum said. “It’s working for us and we’ll continue to get better at it.”
The Rams also noticeably didn’t celebrate after scoring touchdowns— instead they politely shook hands with each other and ran back to the sidelines.
“For one thing, they’re petrified of getting a penalty, and two, I told them we’re supposed to win and score touchdowns,” Pellum said. “Act like you’ve done that. We’re supposed to beat Jordan. Celebrate with your friends and teammates. Don’t be a ‘me’ guy.”
After Jordan fumbled on the first play of the game, Millikan running back Aj’ae Gravelly punched it in on fourth down from the 3-yard line to open the scoring. The Panthers continued to give the Rams great field position with turnovers and miscues, but Millikan missed two field goals and wasted three opportunities in the Jordan red zone.
After an interception by Tacario Davis, Jackson found Gravelly for an 8-yard touchdown on fourth down to double the lead. Ryan Pellum also caught a 15-yard touchdown from Jackson before halftime, but his favorite target of the night was Miranda who caught all of his game-high five receptions after halftime. His third catch of the night was a 70-yard slalom run down the far sideline that set up a touchdown run from Rocco Luciano.
Miranda said that he gets an edge on the field by watching as much film as he possibly can.
“I look at tendencies, what they like to do and any weaknesses that they have,” Miranda said. “I watch film for hours at home and then we watch film at lunch and after school. I like to watch same play over and over again and look at one player at a time.”
“I try to spread the love around to everybody,” Jackson said about his very talented receivers that includes Pellum and Davis who have multiple scholarship offers. “Angelo watches a lot of film and we talk about that before games. We know where we want to attack. He’s kind of like a second quarterback out there reading the defense.”
“Who are you going to bracket, play two high against or choose to put your best corner on because whoever you don’t they’re in for a night,” coach Pellum said. “I think we have one of the better receiving corps and any given night you don’t know who is going to be the guy.”
Next week, Millikan takes on Long Beach Poly while Jordan hosts Lakewood.