The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation
The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2023-24 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.
Anyone who saw last year’s Millikan and Jordan football game and its high-flying 112 total points may have expected the rematch on Friday night to be another thriller with highlight worthy touchdowns. Instead, the visiting Rams dominated the trenches to control the game and win 53-25.
“We were way better than them last year and today we actually showed that,” Millikan coach Romeo Pellum said. “We showed this is a different level of football. Our guys are bigger, better and stronger. We showed that.”
Millikan (4-2, 2-0) ran the ball incredibly well being the offensive line of Alex Romero, Chase Dawson, Kade Hegedus, Mason Scott, Jesse Wishon, Ryder McGuire and others while running back Xavier Jones scored four touchdowns while gaining 151 yards on 18 carries.
“Today we locked in and said that we’re going to come out fast and physically and that’s what we did,” Jones said. “I told the offensive line that if they get a push I’m going to work.”
The Rams defense showed a new stacked linebacker look to confuse the Jordan offensive line and cut out running lanes for Panthers star running back Jordan Washington. He only ran for 61 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. The stacked scheme with three down lineman featured linebackers like Matt Robinson and Riley Tuggle moving and blitzing as the ball was snapped.
“I like to be free, to fly around wherever the ball is and just make plays,” said Robinson, who had double-digit tackles to go with three tackles for loss. “It works so well because our edges go outside well and it opens it right up for me. Those (Jordan offensive tackles) were getting tired. They were trying to shoot at Greg McClendon, one of my hard edges on that side, He helped me out a lot today. On the run they were just staring down, so I read it and just made the plays.”
The night started with a shouting match between the two teams as they took the field after the coin toss. They had to be separated by the referees and administrators from both schools. The coaches even needed to be pushed away from each other as profanity was exchanged.
“We’re a family here and if anybody disrespects your family you have to act on it,” Robinson said. “They came out with all of the bad energy and were talking all week. So we just finalized it, we’re going to talk about it on the bus and call it a week.”
Jordan (4-1, 0-1) seemed to emerge the more pumped up side after the pregame fracas and Deanthoine Price sacked Millikan quarterback JP Mialovski on the Rams’ own 1-yard line to force a punt.
Quarterback JJ Nielsen hit Washington for a 16-yard gain on the first play, and three plays later Nielsen took it in himself from 5-yards out to put the Panthers up 6-0.
Jones and Millikan responded quickly with a short touchdown run of its own that put the Rams up 7-6 less than four minutes into the game.
After forcing a quick 3-and-out, Millikan went on a 14-play drive that ended in a 30-yard field goal by Jayden Icasiano to go up 10-6.
Again Jordan responded with a similar drive, this one was 11 plays and it ended in a 10-yard touchdown run from Washington early in the second quarter that made it 12-10.
Millikan would proceed to score the next 28 points unanswered. Mialovski found a wide-open Charlie Broughton for an 11-yard touchdown that gave the Rams a 24-12 halftime lead.
The Rams defense grabbed all of the momentum with a pair of sacks by Robinson and McClendon to force Jordan into a quick punt on its first drive of the second half.
On the first play of the ensuing Millikan drive, Mialovski went over the top to find Loyall Mouzon for a 44-yard score and a 32-12 lead. Mialovski completed 17 of his 28 pass attempts for 237 yards and three touchdowns. His three touchdowns came on three consecutive throws surrounding halftime.
Mialovski’s last touchdown pass to Ryan Pellum was from 17-yards out and saw Pellum toss his defender out of the way with one arm on his way to the end zone. Pellum finished with seven catches for 82 yards.
Nielsen had a pair of late touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. He completed 16 of his 33 pass attempts for 148 yards, two passing touchdowns and an interception.
Kyle Parker was the one who came up with that interception, and the game’s only turnover, for the Millikan defense.
“They’re just battle tested,” coach Pellum said of his team. “Our practices are really hard, coaches are up in their face, we’ve had tough games like the trip to Hawaii and we’re built for adversity.”
Following the game, the two head coaches shook hands at midfield while their teams stood on the sidelines; the two teams then parted ways and went to their locker rooms.
Next week, Millikan visits Long Beach Poly while Jordan stays home to face Lakewood.