In the 1980s, no area high school team had more football victories than Milford Mill, which won 87.
But the 1990s aren't starting out well for the Millers. After six weeks, Milford Mill is 1-5.
The Millers have a new coach this year, Chuck Weitz, who replaced John Buchheister. Buchheister left after the 1989 season to coach at Randallstown.
Was Buchheister really that good?
Is Weitz really that bad?
What has happened to Milford Mill?
"It's a hard question," Weitz said last week before a practice. "I try to avoid the conversation. I tell people that we've had some injuries and that basically we have a junior-varsity squad.
"People usually take their lumps when they rebuild," he said. "Sometimes at Milford Mill, we've been able to avoid that. We would have avoided it this year, and that's not to take anything away from the teams we have played. If we were healthy, I think we still had a chance to go 7-3 or 6-4, which would have gotten us back into the [state] playoffs. We're just at a point where the people we have don't know they can win yet."
The biggest blow to the Millers was the loss of running back Brian Lee, who had knee surgery last Tuesday.
"He was our leader," said Weitz. "He was the senior back that had the game sense and total control. He was going to win games no matter what he had to do. When he went down, we dropped a notch. He had picked up about 500 yards in three games, and that was with very little blocking."
There have been other key injuries:
* Jeff Carroll, a sophomore running back who ran for 124 yards in the first game Lee missed, is out for the season after a knee injury.
* Defensive end/running back Jamone Driver broke his arm.
* Quarterback Kevin Jackson's passing is limited because he has tendinitis in the elbow on his throwing arm.
"It's a combination of about 100 different things just added up," said Weitz. "When we started off the season, we were pretty hopeful."
Hopeful, but not overly optimistic. The Millers had just six holdovers from last season's 8-3 team, and only four of them were starters.
"I've got seven players with no varsity experience, and five of them are starting both ways," said Weitz. "I have about 10 kids that are walk-ons that have little or no experience. Another thing is that this is not a very senior-laden team.
The season has not been a total disaster for Weitz and Milford Mill. The team has been competitive.
The Millers opened the season with an 18-6 loss to Mervo, then beat Towson, 20-14. They then lost league games to Chesapeake, 20-15, Pikesville, 8-0, and Patapsco, 39-21, before a 24-6, non-league loss to North County last weekend. Turnovers and inexperience are giving the Millers the most difficulty.
"It's not their [the players'] fault. They are giving 100 percent," said Weitz. "They just don't know. Without Lee, we have very few seniors that are skill-oriented. Right now, we are kind of searching to find the right combination of things we can do to get into the end zone."