The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2023-24 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.
It only took four minutes of game time for Millikan’s special teams to give the Rams a two-score lead they would not relinquish in a 48-34 home opening win over Cathedral on Friday night.
Millikan’s Ryan Pellum took the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown, then after a quick 3 & out forced by the Rams defense, Dillon Nelson blocked the punt. Jayden Icasiano ended the ensuing drive with a field goal for an 11-0 lead. Millikan led 25-0 after the first quarter.
“Special teams is a big emphasis for us,” Millikan coach Romeo Pellum said. “We didn’t think they were going to kick (Ryan Pellum) the ball. That’s crazy. The chances of us scoring is really high (if they do that) so hopefully they keep kicking him the ball and we keep blocking kicks.”
Pellum, a USC signee, only needed one stiff arm on the kicker to break free for the score on the first play in front of the home fans at DeHaven Stadium.
“I don’t know why they kicked me the ball, they don’t usually do that,” Ryan Pellum said. “I saw my blockers doing a great job blocking on the inside, so I took it on the outside.”
A week after scuffling in Hawaii, the Millikan offense came alive with quarterback JP Mialovski going 20/32 for 277 yards with three touchdowns passing, one rushing and an interception.
“We had a lot of guys hurt (last week) and a lot of guys are back, but I feel like we were just well prepared and we did what we needed to do to win,” Mialovski said.
Pellum was Mialovski’s favorite target with six receptions for 120 yards. Millikan running back Kyle Parker was also fantastic with 180 yards rushing on 17 carries and a touchdown.
“I was letting the game come to me and then I had to do my job as an individual to push forward,” Parker said. “Shoutout to my lineman for balling out. They were consistent and we were practicing hard all week.”
Millikan’s defense was also able to create four turnovers including interceptions by Parker, Jayden Rapp and EJ Enriquez.
However, the Rams were whistled for 13 penalties and over 100 net yards in the first half alone. They only had four penalties in the second half, but two of them were of the 15 yard variety. The game took three and a half hours because of the 26 combined penalties in the high scoring affair.
“We have a lot of stuff to work on,” coach Pellum said. “We have to eliminate the penalties, that’s a huge thing for us. Against better teams and in close games we won’t win if we have penalties like that.”
Touchdown passes to Pellum and Charles Broughton gave Millikan a big first quarter lead, but quarterback Jaden Jefferson came off the bench to spark the Cathedral offense. He completed his first eight pass attempts while throwing a pair of touchdowns to Antonio Walton. Jefferson finished 14/17 with 210 yards and three touchdowns.
Millikan led 25-13 at halftime and Rapp’s interception set up a scoring drive that Mialovski capped with a one-yard dive into the end zone. The two teams traded scores for the rest of the game, but the Phantoms (1-1) never got closer than 11 points.
Icasiano drilled a 38-yard field goal in the third quarter to pad the lead before Parker and Pellum both scored fourth quarter touchdowns to clinch the victory.
Millikan (1-1) visits St. Francis next week.
“We have to lock in,” Ryan Pellum said of his team's improvement. “There’s a couple mistakes we made that led to us not being able to put them away so once we clean up those mistakes we’ll be fine.”