Millikan football hosted a competitive 7 v 7 tournament on Saturday with some of the best schools in California. As temperatures reached above 90, the ‘Tournament of Champions’ brought out top teams in St. John Bosco, Centennial, and Mater Dei; city rival Long Beach Poly had to pull out due to COVID-19 issues.
“These are the top guys in California,” said Rams’ junior Matthew Martinez. “Three years ago, people didn’t think about Millikan like a DI team and now we’re hosting and competing with Bosco and Mater Dei.”
The Rams had a solid afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium, going 4-1 for the day. Standout performances from juniors Martinez and Angelo Miranda helped lead the Rams to victory each game.
Millikan began the day with a win over Pacifica and continued with two more wins against Bishop Amat and Santa Margarita. When playoff brackets were released, Millikan was lined up to face Pacifica again.
The Rams had originally beat the Tritons only 22-16, but came into the first round much hungrier, securing a 37-7 victory.
“We have to start faster,” head coach Romeo Pellum said of the difference between the two matchups. “We don’t have to wait until the second or third game to play. We just have to start faster, play faster, and we’ll be okay.”
Martinez scored two touchdowns in the first round against Pacifica while the Rams got security touchdowns from Miranda and sophomores, Mason Popken and Charlie Broughton.
Strong Millikan defense helped the Rams lock up both quarterbacks for Pacifica, forcing them to run out of time in the pocket. Key on both sides of the game, offensively and defensively, was star-sophomore Ryan Pellum.
“Those guys are our playmakers and those are our guys who could make really good plays,” Martinez said of the young Millikan talent.
The Rams advanced to the second round in the bracket matched up with St. John Bosco, fresh off a victory over San Clemente 34-19.
The Braves got the scoring started early, getting their first touchdown within the first minute of play. On the other side, Bosco stayed strong in defense, making simple passes from quarterback Myles Jackson very hard to catch.
However, Jackson would connect with Miranda for the first Rams touchdown after a few plays to even the score. Bosco responded with two more touchdowns, creating high tensions between the teams.
Jackson found Martinez for his third touchdown in bracket play, securing the second point through Jordan Anderson. Bosco scored their fourth touchdown with five minutes remaining, despite more outstanding defense from sophomore Pellum.
Pellum then connected with Jackson for the last Rams touchdown of the game as Millikan dropped the second round to the Braves, 31-21.
“We had four really good games, everyone was clicking and we were in sync,” Martinez said. “Then everything just got a little chippy at Bosco so we’re going to work on things. But I think overall, it was a good game and we had a good day for sure.”
“Expectation is to win but it’s not about necessarily winning,” Pellum said of the Rams’ tournament play. “There’s things we have to clean up but we did some good things today. I think if we can focus on us, we’ll be okay.”
Bosco went on to defeat Sierra Canyon and advance to the championship where they faced Servite. Bosco used their strong defense and offense to win 40-8; the Braves took home a $2,000 prize and Servite brought home $1,000.