Football Lakewood Millikan

PREVIEW: Millikan vs. Lakewood, Football

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

The Hamilton Trophy will be on the line tonight at Lakewood, where the newly renovated John Ford Stadium will host its biggest game in years. The Millikan Rams will make the short trip to Lakewood for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The host Lancers (3-4, 2-1) are coming off their best performance of the Justin Utupo era, beating Jordan 31-18 a week ago. That has Lakewood firmly in the playoff picture with a great shot at second place, if they can knock off their fiercest rivals.

This game already had plenty of juice coming off last year’s meeting, when Millikan was eager to score as much as possible in a 49-7 win at Millikan. But the matchup comes at the perfect time for Lakewood, as they seem to have found an offensive rhythm while also getting the Red Swarm activated on defense.

Lakewood’s senior-heavy offense of QB Brayden Downen, RBs Kaleb Foster and Zion Smith, and WR Takim Raye-Brown have all gotten into a nice groove since the start of league play, and they should have the experience to handle the big-game atmosphere. A third straight win would give the Lancers an inside track to a second-place finish and a return trip to the playoffs.

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Meanwhile, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions at Millikan (2-5, 1-2)  over the past month. Ever since their thrilling overtime win in Arizona, the team has dealt with forfeits, spent two weeks without its head coach, won an instant classic against Jordan and then suffered a depleted shutout loss against Long Beach Poly.

With the news breaking yesterday that head coach Romeo Pellum had been reinstated, the Rams got a boost of energy going into a massive game. Pellum said his team is recovered and ready to go this week, meaning the Rams’ offense should be back to its explosive self. If QB Myles Jackson, plus WRs Angelo Miranda and Matt Martinez are back and fully healthy, that’s a difference-maker for Millikan on both sides of the ball. The Rams’ defense will also benefit from having junior LB Riley Tuggle back in the lineup.

The drama is always high when Lakewood and Millikan meet, but this year brings even more intrigue with how the past few weeks have played out. Emotions will be running high, and limiting mistakes might just be the key for both teams.

Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.