`D' fuels Milford Mill

2 years after 1-9 finish, Millers oust Overlea for region title, 17-7

Class 2A Football

High schools


As the final seconds ticked down in Milford Mill's Class 2A North regional final against Overlea, Millers defensive coordinator Craig Rollins smiled and said aloud to himself: "Yes! From 1-9 to regional champs."

Thanks in large part to Rollins' schemes and the defensive players' execution, the Millers are indeed the 2A North champions after a 17-7 triumph over the Falcons yesterday at Woodlawn High.

No. 10 Milford Mill (11-1) held Overlea (9-3) to 155 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers, getting just enough offense to advance to the state semifinals two seasons after finishing 1-9.

"This," senior defensive back/tailback Rashod Underwood said after the game, "is a great feeling right now."

The Millers were determined to shut down Overlea's rushing attack and force the Falcons to pass, coach Reggie White said. They stacked defenders in the box and missed few tackles, holding the Falcons to 85 yards on the ground on 37 carries.

In the first half, they stuffed two Overlea drives inside their 20. One ended with a fourth-down stop and the other with an unsuccessful short field-goal try.

Meanwhile, Underwood and fellow seniors Rodney Webb and Robert Jackson paced the Millers' offense. Jackson threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Brandon McDonald in the first quarter, then ran twice for 18 yards on another drive to set up Underwood's field goal that gave Milford Mill a 10-0 lead.

But the Millers could not muster much offense after that and the Falcons nearly rallied for the win. Overlea drove 37 yards to pull within 10-7 on a 5-yard run by tailback Raynard Horne in the third quarter, and its defense stiffened, forcing a fumble and a punt on the Millers' next two possessions.

But the Falcons fumbled the ball away twice within minutes. The first fumble negated great field position, and the other, a muff of a Milford Mill punt, gave the Millers the ball at the Overlea 20 early in the fourth quarter.

Although Overlea held, the Falcons punted on their next possession from inside their 10. Five plays later, Webb capped a 25-yard drive by plowing into the end zone from a yard out.

The fumbles were "a big factor," Underwood said, "a huge turnaround in the game."

Overlea got the ball back twice more but could not cross midfield.

"Our guys were resilient," White said. "We figured if they beat us passing, so be it. But they weren't going to beat us running."

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