Of their six wins this season, Thursday night's may not have been the best one to right home about for the JV Football. Despite another huge 34-13 victory, sloppy play from the Wildcats prevented them from putting several more scores up on the board at Wakefield's Wolverine Stadium.
Each team started the ballgame by exchanging punts. The second came from the foot of Kevin Serratos that would set the JV Wolverines up near midfield. That's were their Quarterback Jacob Gasperson would go to work. He opened the drive my trying to pick on Millbrook cornerback Kenan Delbridge. The 5'10 Sophomore went up and broke the pass up with his left hand. On the next play, Gasperson tried to go deep to Delbridge's man again, but this time, Kenan jumped the route and got his hands on it for the interception. That would bring the Wildcat offense back on to the field at the Wakefield 21 yard line, where they would find the endzone in just four plays.
Kenny McCray started the drive with a 17 yard run to get the ball inside the five yard line. TJ Hines then got the hand off for a gain of 3 yards before Millbrook tried their chances with leading rusher, Chris Twitty. The run from Twitty picked up no yards and that would force a big 3rd Down and Goal from the 1 yard line. McCray would fake the handoff to Twitty on the ensuing snap and hand it off to Hines who would sneak into the endzone for the score. Following Serratos' extra point, Millbrook would lead 7-0 in the early going.
Wakefield would be forced to go three-and-out on their following drive. For the second time in as many punts, Ben Kiernan, the punter would have the ball sail over his head. This time, Dacauri Stanley would race into the backfield to flag him down for a 27 yard loss. That would put Millbrook in prime scoring position, but they could not capitalize as Kevin Serratos missed a 26 yard field goal. As tough of a break as it was for the Wildcats, the Wolverines would ensure that it wouldn't be long before they got another offensive chance. The Wolverines would fumble on their next drive and Sophomore, Branden Pierce was the one to emerge from the pile with the ball. This turnover set Millbrook up at the Wakefield 11 yard line. Five plays later, McCray would navigate his way into the endzone from a yard out to give the Wildcats the 14-0 lead. Those rushing plays would be the most notable during McCray's night as he ran for -22 yards on his final six carries in the ballgame.
That scoring drive would end the first quarter with Millbrook leading by a pair of scores. Noah Watkins and Dacauri Stanley would sack Gasperson on the following drive before the Sophomore QB unleashed three completions to get near the goal line. Selvyn Williams came through with all three tackles for the JV Wildcats on those completions, but he wouldn't register a tackle on the next play as Wakefield found the endzone, just about three minutes into the second quarter to make it a 14-7 game.
Tyler Snead would return the kickoff 24 yards following the Wolverine touchdown. A facemask call on the kicking team gave the Wildcats even better field position to take back over on offense at the Wolverines' 29 yard line. Coach Bunting's group gambled on the first two plays of the drive as McCray aired it out to Tyler Snead and Tyson Jackson who were wide open downfield. Both passes would fall out of the outstretched hands of the diving Millbrook receivers to bring up 3rd Down. That's when McCray called for the reverse handoff to Snead who would refuse to be tackled en route to a 20 yard gain and a first down. Two plays later, Chris Twitty got the hand off and snuck through the right side for the touchdown to make it 21-7 Wildcats.
Turnovers would be the name of the game and following the Millbrook touchdown, the two teams would exchange the ball back and forth very quickly. Kenan Delbridge would recover a Wakefield fumble on their next possession before Kenny McCray would give it right back on an interception one play into the following drive. Luckily, neither play led to points as the two team's headed into halftime with the Wildcats leading 21-7.
You thought wrong if you had the idea that the halftime break would sure up the turnover problem. Wakefield got the ball back to start the half and they were forced to punt. Back deep to return was Shawntay Mills who muffed the kick and the Wolverines would fall on it at the Wildcat 45 yard line. Mills' fumble would be made up for quickly thanks in part to guess who? Kenan Delbridge. For the fifth time in the last three games, he went up and picked off the pass. Coach Bunting didn't know what to expect out of him this season but he has proven to be a very valuable asset on defense.
"Kenan had a really bad injury at the end of last season and we really didn't know what we were going to get out of him or even if he would be able to come back and play after surgery and having plates put into his leg... so for him to go through the whole rehab process and get back out onto the field and play at such a high level is wonderful... He is a heck of an athlete and he made some great plays out there tonight. He is definitely one of the best secondary guys that we got out there."
All in all, Delbridge ended his night with 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and he broke up 6 passes for a very stingy Wildcat defense. On the offensive side of the ball, things weren't as promising in the third quarter. McCray was sacked twice and then he let go of a pitch to Chris Twitty too late that led to a 4th and 17 situation where Serratos' punt would give Wakefield very short field position. That's when the Wolverines would string together a drive to make it a one score game. Gasperson would hit Ronnie Campbell on a 29 yard touchdown pass to make it 21-13 with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Tyler Snead would put abruptly end the Wolverine momentum. The kickoff following the touchdown was a short line drive into the waiting arms of the Wildcats' leading kick returner at his own 35 yard line. Once he got his hands around the ball, it was off to the races as he took it to the house for the 65 yard touchdown. Following a missed extra point attempt, Millbrook was back ahead by two possessions at 27-13.
That would be the score for the rest of the third and a fair amount of the fourth quarter until Wakefield got the ball back two drives later. They were buried deep into their own territory after five consecutive sacks from Millbrook. The Wolverines had to keep relying on their run game because Branden Pierce added to his fumble recovery with an interception on the drive prior to this one. With the Punter Kiernan backed up to his own goal line, he let a booming kick go down near midfield. That's where Shawntay Mills was for the catch, the 5'7 sophomore darted right through defenders and juked his away several more for the 45 yard punt return touchdown. For Mills, that was his sixth of the season.
"Coach keeps telling me, "think smart, play smart" and that's what I had to do. I fumbled the last two punts and was lucky to recover one of them so I had to make sure I secured this one. From there it was just trying to make my way through their defense and avoid being tackled... as much as I'm glad that I made up for the fumbles with teh touchdown, I still need to work on staying stable before the ball hits my hands and remaining focused."
Mills' score put Millbrook up 34-13 which would be the final score as the Wildcats keep with their 34.3 PPG pace and move to 6-1 on the season, 3-1 in the Cap-8 Conference. Next up is a home game next Thursday against Heritage. Kickoff is schedule for 6:30PM, for more information, follow Millbrook Football on Twitter at @MHSCatsFootball.