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Football Lakewood Millikan

Football: Millikan Dominates Lakewood To Retain Hamilton Trophy

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.

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

Millikan head coach Romeo Pellum said he was as nervous as he’d been all season coming into Friday’s rivalry showdown with Lakewood. But that anxiety quickly dissipated, with his Rams dominating all phases of the game in a 43-0 win over the visiting Lancers to retain the Hamilton Trophy.

“I feel really good man, I’m not gonna lie,” said Pellum after the win. “I came into this game weary because I feel like we didn’t have our best week of practice … We played Poly tough down to the wire (last week), and now how are the kids going to respond? Are they going to feel like they’ve made it? Or they’re better than Lakewood and they feel like they don’t have to practice? Or are they going to go out and start fast?”

Things couldn’t have started much faster for the Rams, as senior All-American Ryan Pellum returned the opening kickoff back to the Lakewood 43. Eight plays later, Pellum was on the receiving end of a 13-yard TD toss from JP Mialovski to open the scoring.

On Lakewood’s opening drive, Millikan senior Loyall Mouzon made a huge play to double the Millikan advantage, stepping in front of a Lakewood pass and weaving 55 yards for a touchdown. It’s Mouzon’s second Pick-6 in as many weeks, and it gave the Rams a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

“Our defense is getting better and better each week, and I think everyone that’s watching our games can agree with that,” Pellum said. “We pitched a shutout, our defense was fired up, and Loyall is a special talent. He’s a steal for anybody to get him. He’s a dude; a legit freakin’ talent.”

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That was the first of five interceptions by the Millikan defense, as they gave both Lakewood quarterbacks fits throughout the night. Jayden Rapp had two of those picks, with Ethan Enriquez, Ricky Cherry, and Ethan Enriquez snagging the others.

“Our defense is definitely really confident,” Rapp said after his team’s first shutout of the season. “We feel like we can go out there against anybody and hold our own and just do what we do. I think it’s no secret, our chemistry is just so good. We didn’t have (Kyle Parker) tonight but I felt just as comfortable with Mike (Sherrills) out there. Our chemistry is just super awesome.”

The Rams got a takeaway on the first play of the second quarter, on a great leaping interception from the sophomore Enriquez. That drive turned into points thanks to a great third down throw from Mialovski to Mouzon for a 36-yard gain down to the Lakewood one-yard line. Mialovski kept it himself to finish off the drive and make it 22-0 Rams.

On Millikan’s next possession, Mialovski hit a wide open Pellum after a great route, allowing him to waltz into the end zone for a 49-yard score. The junior QB was 10/18 for 166 yards and 2 TDs, to go along with 29 rushing yards and another score on the ground.

“Man, he’s always open,” said Mialovski of his top target. “It’s great getting him the ball in space and watching him see what he can do.”

The Rams would tack on another score late in the first half as Cherry stepped in front of a pass for an interception, returning it all the way to the Lakewood seven. On the next play, Pellum would take the handoff and go around the right side for the score. He ended the night with 126 total yards and three touchdowns.

“It was fun,” he said. “It was more like we had something to prove, something to do from last week … The chemistry is what brings it together. As long as we’ve got that, we’ll be good.”

Their momentum carried over to the second half, when Rapp collected his second INT on Lakewood’s opening drive of the third quarter. A 44-yard run by Xavier Jones (6 carries, 71 yards) was a key play in the drive, and X capped it off with a 19-yard catch and run on a beautifully executed screen pass, making it 43-0 Millikan.

Millikan’s secondary stole the show with their interceptions, but linebacker Riley Tuggle was also heavily involved against the run and in pressuring Lakewood QB Kade Casillas, who was under constant duress. Tuggle had a sack, another tackle for loss, and a blocked punt in the second quarter alone.

While it was a statement win for Millikan as they took a big step toward locking up a second place finish in the Moore League, it was the opposite result for Lakewood. Lancers head coach Justin Utupo was caught off guard by the performance given how well his team had prepared going in.

“I thought we had a solid week of preparation, so it’s tough when you come out here and don’t get a chance to execute,” Utupo said. “But part of that is, Millikan played a great game and so hats off to Millikan and Coach Romeo, they’re doing their thing … This is one of those games where you do a lot of self-reflecting as a program. We gotta get back to the drawing boards, because we’ve got a damn good football team, and we’re gonna quickly move forward from this.”

Lakewood is on a bye next week and will next host Wilson on Oct. 20. Millikan is back in action next Friday with a road game against Compton.

VIDEO: Millikan vs. Lakewood, Football
PHOTOS: Millikan vs. Lakewood, Football
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.