Unbeaten Milford Mill proving that it belongs Football: The Millers moved up to Baltimore County's 3A-4A League this season and have enjoyed nothing but success through eight games.

October 29, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Having to move up to Baltimore County's big schools division after graduating 20 seniors from last year's 7-3 squad -- one that included 11 returning starters and a second-team All-Metro player -- Milford Mill coach Reggie Brooks "had no idea what this team would be like."

"Our first practice, no one was penciled in at any position. We had no definitive leaders," Brooks recalled.

Eight games into the season, the Millers are unbeaten, ranked No. 7 in The Sun poll, No. 1 in the Class 3A North Region and about to capture the Baltimore County 3A-4A League crown.

Three-year starting running back David Bazemore has keyed the offense with his 1,023 yards and 13 touchdowns, making him the area's eighth-leading rusher.

Defensive end John Rich (6 feet 1, 195 pounds) has asserted himself as the team leader "with his intensity and attitude," Brooks said.

And Hickey transfer Todd Turner, a 6-3, 185-pound safety, is the Millers' top tackler.

As a quarterback, Turner led Hickey to its second straight playoff apperance last year but "arrived late into our practices," Brooks said. By then, the signal-caller was sophomore Richard Johnson, a 5-10, 150-pounder up from a 6-2 JV.

"Johnson never gave Turner the chance," Brooks said. "He [Johnson] plays basketball and baseball, so he's an excellent athlete. And he's super quick -- I mean, he can fly."

Last year's Millers looked to soar after an 8-3 season that included winning the 1A-2A league and reaching the 2A playoffs. Bazemore (900 rushing yards, 13 TDs) was among the returning talent, as were second-team All-Metro linebacker Ty Burris (6-0, 265) and QB Anthony Davis (300 rushing yards, two TDs).

But the Millers wound up losing twice in the league and being dethroned by upstart Hereford.

"Last year's team had more talent, but they took things for granted," said Brooks, naming Bazemore (709 yards, nine TDs last year) as a culprit.

"He wasn't working hard so we benched him," Brooks said. "We brought him back, but he did nothing for five games."

Bazemore, however, just completed his second consecutive 200-yard game in a 36-28 upset of then-No. 9 Woodlawn (7-1, 6-1), rushing for 202 yards and three touchdowns.

It was a watershed win, one that overcame a team that had scored 53 more points and allowed 16 less against three common opponents. The win over last year's 3A-4A league champ also helped the Millers (8-0, 7-0) to shed the "little guys" image, Brooks said.

If the Millers can defeat No. 10 Eastern Tech (7-1, 6-1) Saturday night at Dundalk Community College, that would be icing on the cake.

"We heard we couldn't compete up here, but we try not to worry about what other teams do as much as what we're going to do," said Brooks, who has enough talent on his 45-man roster that only one player goes both ways. "We're so small defensively, we just said the heck with defensive ends. Let's just go with three down linemen and stand everyone else up."

The defense stood tall against Woodlawn's two Division I prospects, Reggie Danage and Tavon Mason, who are listed in The National Recruiting Advisor as having 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

Brooks credited defensive backs David Boyd and Kenny Pompey (5-10, 160), whose interception led to the game-winning touchdown, and linebackers Rich, Dashae Mariano and Muhammad Howard for containing Woodlawn's dynamic duo.

"If you let them reach the sidelines, that's all she wrote. So I just tried to contain them, turn them inside and let the linebackers do the rest," said Boyd.

Down 21-20 against Woodlawn, Boyd said he and defensive backs Tanner Scott and Jason Jones "played our hearts out.

"We had to be on our toes every single minute of every single play for all four quarters," he said. "But that's how we are every game."

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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