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'Cats Cruise Behind McCray's Big Night

By Evan Moesta, 08/27/16, 5:30AM EDT

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August 26th, 2016 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Millbrook 0 22 14 7 43
Knightdale 14 0 0 0 14

“When times got tough, we trust in each other’s ability to go out and make plays on both sides of the ball. That's the beauty of Millbrook Football… this is not any old team it is a brotherhood, and we have each other's backs.” -Kenny McCray

For only the fourth time in his varsity career, Millbrook running back Larry Rountree was held to under 100 yards rushing. The senior still managed to find pay dirt on two occasions, but as is the case with any team that is loaded with as many playmakers as Millbrook has, another player would step up and help carry the workload. On Friday night, that man was junior quarterback Kenny McCray who continued to do nothing but shine under center as he ran for three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ come-from-behind 43-14 victory at Knightdale.

Knightdale stunned Millbrook early on by taking a 14-0 lead into the second quarter. Jalen Hodge and the Knights offense set the tone by pounding the rock into the endzone from two yards out on the first drive of the game. After forcing a Wildcat punt, DJ Conner stormed his team right back down field for another two-yard strike, this time on a pass to Andrew Tuazama in the closing minutes of the first stanza. Millbrook flipped the switch over the course of the final 36 minutes by scoring 43 unanswered points.

“After that first quarter, Coach (Inscore) just told us to keep our composure. Things are going to happen here and there but we need to stick to the game plan and be ourselves” said McCray.

Sticking to the game-plan worked to perfection as the ‘Cats strung together a quick answer in the form of an eight-play, 76 yard drive that was capped off in just over two minutes on a three-yard run from Larry Rountree.

Millbrook’s defense rode the moment from the Rountree score to force a three-and-out, and put the offense in good position to score around midfield. Penalties backed the drive into Wildcat territory before Tyler Snead broke off a huge run on a reverse play to bail Millbrook out of a 3rd and 16 situation. From there, it was fundamental as Larry Rountree took a hand-off from Kenny McCray 26 yards right up the gut of the Knightdale defense for his second touchdown of the quarter, and his fourth of the season. The score put the Wildcats ahead for good as Snead, who doubles as the team’s holder, took the extra point snap and ran it in on a fake field goal attempt making it 15-14.

The score increased to 22-14 after Andre Freeman unleashed a bone-rattling hit on Knightdale’s punter at his own one yard line following a bad snap. The highlight reel hit led to a quick score from Kenny McCray that would wrap up the first half action.

Chris Twitty tallied 13 of his 28 rushing yards on the night when he muscled his way down to the Knightdale eight yard line on Millbrook’s second drive of the third quarter. It just took one more play for the Wildcats to pick up six more points as Kenny McCray ran the option, and kept it himself to help make it 29-14 Millbrook.

Kenny wasn’t done yet as he turned in the hat trick four minutes later. On first and goal from the Knights six yard line, McCray fooled the entire defense by faking a hand-off to Rountree and taking himself right up the middle for the touchdown. The duo of McCray and Rountree combined to rush for 135 yards, and 5 touchdowns on Friday night.

“Lots of credit goes to the O-Line tonight” said McCray, “Larry, Twitty, and myself could not have had as much success as we did without the work that they did blocking”.

Defense and special teams took Millbrook down the home stretch as they flipped the script from the opening quarter by shining brightest in the final quarter. Faced with 3rd and 11 to start the fourth, Knightdale’s Jalen Hodge lobbed up a pass to his 6’7 tight end Andrew Tuazama who had the ball deflect off of his hands and right to 5’8 Andre Freeman for the interception. Freeman had a pick-six against Middle Creek in Millbrook’s final scrimmage of the preseason, and last week he kicked off the regular season with a fumble return for a touchdown.

Millbrook would end the game with a bang as Knightdale’s penultimate drive stalled out at their own 25 yard line with just over four minutes to play. The Knights’ 37-yard punt on 4th and 10 sailed end-over-end into the waiting arms of Shawntay Mills who made one man miss three yards into his return, and from there he was off to the races, flying down the right sideline, and picking up block after block along the way. 62 yards later, Mills was in the endzone for the first touchdown of his varsity career, this comes after an impressive showing as the team’s returner last week, and at the JV level in 2015. This return wrapped up the scoring at 43-14.

With the victory, Millbrook joins six other schools in the Cap-8 to move to 2-0 on Friday. Overall, the conference is a combined 14-1 this season after turning in a 7-0 performance in week two. One of those victorious Cap-8 schools was Sanderson who defeated the Wildcats next opponent, Fuquay Varina 7-0 on the road. The Bengals will make the trip to Raleigh next week with a 1-1 record, the game will be Millbrook’s first home game of the season. Admission is $7, and the Millbrook Maniac theme is a “Bright Out” special shirts for the theme are currently being sold at Chick-Fil-A’s Falls Village and Capital Crossing locations for $7, or $4 with the purchase of a combo meal. For more information, follow @MyChickFilA, @MHSManiac, or @MHSCatsFootball on Twitter.