Smith Leads Pioneers To Romp Over Colonels
Posted: October 22, 2016
By ROBERT NIEDZWIECKI
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The Millbrook football team has proven throughout the year that it only needs a sliver of space to score from anywhere on the field.
Because of where their possessions started on Friday night, the Pioneers’ chances of scoring were about as good as they’ve ever been.
Thanks in large part to the work of its special teams and defense, Millbrook scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and recorded six touchdowns in the first half en route to a 56-0 Northwestern District win over James Wood in the Pioneers’ Homecoming game.
Millbrook (7-1, 2-0 district) only had to travel an average of 38 yards on its six first-half touchdown drives.
"Field position is the No. 1 thing that I think can help you win a football game, or help you lose it," Millbrook coach Josh Haymore said. "Field position really helped us. It’s nice to be able to drive the ball down the field, but when you have punt returns and are making stops on defense, it helps you a lot. It can just take a couple plays to get in the end zone."
The Pioneers held James Wood (2-6, 1-2) to five yards and one first down on 24 plays in the half, and they set up one of their touchdowns with one of their two first-half fumble recoveries.
Millbrook also returned three punts for 138 yards in the half to set up scores.
Savon Smith (nine carries for 161 yards and three TDs) had a 36-yard punt return to give Millbrook the ball at the James Wood 42 on its first drive, and Smith scored on a 28-yard TD run five plays later to make it 7-0.
Smith had a 57-yard return after Millbrook forced a punt on James Wood’s second possession to give the Pioneers the ball at the Colonel 30, and Smith scored on a six-yard run four plays later.
James Wood stopped punting to Smith after that, but Cameron Faint set up Millbrook’s fifth TD with a 45-yard return to the Colonel 13. P.K. Kier (10 carries, 69 yards, 2 TDs) scored on the next play to give Millbrook a 35-0 lead with 1:59 left in the opening half.
In taking a 42-0 halftime lead, the Pioneers only had one of their eight first-half drives start in their own territory.
Smith’s speed and moves made a difference on his punt returns, but the 57-yarder was also helped by a massive block from Conor Hartigan as Smith was turning upfield after having to run a long way horizontally from right to left.
"Conor said he’s been wanting to make a big blocks on punts, so that was big," Smith said.
Millbrook’s entire defense came up big in shutting down James Wood’s running attack. The defensive line that Haymore praised earlier this week and features Dwayne Shank, Myles Bruce and Demarco Brown got it started with their push and penetration.
"We’re always studying hard for our opponents, and we’re always making sure we’re getting low and getting through the line," Bruce said. "We’re brothers, and we connect. We know what we’re going to do on every play, and we do our job.
"Our mission was to lock down the line, make sure [the backs] didn’t get through, and keep them at zero [points]."
James Wood was without starting center Luke Roy because of an injury suffered last week. That made things more difficult for a Colonels team that wanted to establish the running game (James Wood threw five passes, all incomplete), but Colonels coach Mark McHale credited Millbrook for its performance.
"We didn’t get the running game going, we gave them short fields, we fumbled the ball, had penalties," McHale said. "We knew we had to play perfect to have a chance with them.
"Millbrook did a good job on defense. We just couldn’t block ’em."
Millbrook outgained James Wood (35 rushing attempts) 423-67 for the game. Hartigan added 46 yards and one TD rushing on five carries, and Trammell Anthony added 51 yards on seven carries. The Pioneers recovered four fumbles.
With the win, the Pioneers evened up their all-time series with their Frederick County rival at 7-7.
"They’re a great rival and a great team," Bruce said. "It was great to play them. I played with most of those boys in middle school. They came together as a team, but we did too. We did a good job [to get the win]."
Millbrook is 1-0 and James Wood is 0-2 in the Barr-Lindon Crimson Apple standings. The Crimson-Apple is awarded by The Winchester Star to the team that fares best in games among Winchester-Frederick County schools. Sherando is 2-0 and Handley is 0-1.
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