One need look no further than Myles Jackson’s stat line to see how well Millikan’s season opener went on Thursday at Santa Ana Stadium.
Jackson was part of seven Rams touchdowns while he racked up 502 yards through the air and on the ground in a 62-13 win over Santa Ana.
“This is a great start for us because this is what we hoped to come out and do,” Jackson said. “We put it all together. I’m really proud of my guys.”
Jackson completed 21 of his 26 pass attempts for 413 yards, six touchdowns and one interception that was deflected. Four of the touchdown passes came in the first half while the Rams built a 41-0 halftime lead. Jackson also rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown.
“He was great at showing he can be versatile,” Millikan coach Romeo Pellum said. “He’s more in control because he’s more comfortable now. This is his offense. He’s put in work for a full year with an offseason, so he’s able to make checks and all of that stuff.”
“I definitely worked on my body this offseason to make sure I was lighter and faster this year,” Jackson said. “I’m just trying to be the best I can.”
Millikan (1-0) started the game with consecutive touchdown drives on offense and consecutive three-and-outs on defense. Jackson and receiver Matt Martinez got the Rams on the board less than two minutes into the game with a 34-yard throw and catch score. They would hook up for another 20-yard touchdown at the end of the first half.
Defensive lineman Craig Gordon and linebacker Matt Robinson led Millikan on that side of the ball with multiple tackles for loss. The Rams limited Santa Ana (0-1) to - 2 net rushing yards in the first half. Saints quarterback Sergio Torres went 11-for-27 for 81 yards before the running clock in the fourth quarter when Santa Ana scored twice.
Millikan senior Angelo Miranda picked off Torres in the first quarter, and he also caught six passes in the first half for 119 yards and a 50-yard screen pass touchdown.
Miranda is just one of a handful of elite Rams receivers, but star senior Ryan Pellum didn’t play due to a suspension carry over from last year. Transfer Jordan Anderson only played the third quarter and had four catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Senior Jaden Hunt also caught a 60 yard touchdown in the third quarter, so Jackson had touchdown passes to five different teammates.
“I think it’s come naturally over time because of the way we’ve bonded as a team,” Jackson said of his team’s cohesiveness. “We trust each other on and off the field and that’s been huge for us.”
Millikan also got a big boost from solid offensive line play and smart, hard running from Nygel Osborne. The senior gained 72 yards and scored a touchdown on nine first-half carries. He also had a highlight run in the second half that was called back due to a penalty.
“This feels wonderful and I’m so happy to be on this team,” Osborne said. “We all came together after (the scrimmage loss to Edison) because we had to lock in and focus as a team. When I see my offensive line coming together and working together, even off the field with the chemistry, I’m happy for them and thankful.”
Millikan lost a close game to Santa Ana last year in its home opener.
“We did a great job today to come out with the victory,” Pellum said. “I knew (Santa Ana) would be a scrappy team and they beat us last year. This meant something personal to us. We didn’t want to get swept.”
The Rams will host Cathedral next week, and St. Francis the week after that. Ryan Pellum will return for the St. Francis game.