No. 10 Milford Mill speeds past Glenelg for 2A state football semifinal spot; Butler scores 4 TDs (VIDEO HERE!)

Milford Mill, behind the efforts Taysheen Howard (left) and Chris Butler, is headed to the Class 2A state semifinals. Butler rushed for 140 yards and four touchdowns, and Howard added a score and strip fumble recovery on defense as the 10th-ranked Millers defeated No. 15 Glenelg, 35-3, in Baltimore County.

by Derek Toney

As Glenelg High and Milford Mill Academy football teams exchanged handshakes dsafter Friday evening’s Class 2A state football quarterfinal, Milford Mill’s public address announcer had a friendly reminder for the students.

“Report cards are Monday,” the announcer said. 

The No. 10 Millers scored an A-plus on the turf, routing 15th-ranked Glenelg, 35-3, to advance to the state semifinals. Senior running back Chris Butler rushed for 140 yards and four touchdowns for MIlford Mill (11-1), and Tasheen Howard added a score and fumble recovery. 

The Baltimore County school put up a running clock on the Gladiators (10-2), securing its first state semifinal berth since 2017. The Millers, the No. 4 seed, will play at top-seed Huntingtown of Calvert County next Friday evening for a spot in the state title game at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in two weeks.

Milford Mill, which has won 11 straight since an opening loss to rival Franklin, is “locked in,” on ending its four-decade long state championship drought.

“We were locked in at the beginning of the week and we finished,” said Millers senior defensive end Byron McCoy. “Everything comes out on Friday.” 

McCoy led a tenacious defensive effort with two sacks of Glenelg senior dual-threat quarterback Bisi Owens. Owens, 6-foot-5, finished with just 39 yards rushing on 19 attempts and 38 yards passing.

“You stop 7 (Owens), you stop the offense,” said McCoy.

Glenelg had a difficult time with Milford’s offense, especially Butler. The senior transfer from Green Street Academy had a first half hat trick (scoring runs of 20, 12 and 12 yards), staking the hosts to a 28-0 halftime lead.

Howard said Butler adds another dimension to the offense.

“He brings everything: speed, skill, leadership,” said Howard. 

Howard, another speedster, broke a 22-yard run on 3rd-and-10 on Milford Mill’s opening drive Friday. The next play, he handed off to Butler, who darted into the end zone from 20 yards.

Butler did the work on a quick two-play, 35-yard drive, advancing the Millers’ lead to 14-0 early in the second. His third score, from 12 yards, made it 21-0 with 5 minutes, 15 seconds remaining before halftime.

Butler had 11 carries for 111 yards in the first half.

A month ago, Butler wasn’t sure his final season would continue after injuring his MCL.

“I wanted to play so bad,” said Butler, who was among the area’s top rushers at the time of his injury. “Once I heard I could get back on the field, I started doing what I was supposed to do.”

Butler went untouched through the middle and into the end zone for a 7-yard score to start the second half – and the running clock with 7:57 remaining in the third. Glenelg got its lone points on 40-yard field goal with 4:36 left in regulation.

It was an uphill climb all game for Glenelg, which shared the Howard County title with Atholton and Oakland Mills. The Gladiators’ offense never found consistent traction running the ball against Milford Mill’s defensive front.

When the Gladiators made a positive play, it went awry. In the second quarter, Owens found an open Christian Chen down the middle, but Chen fumbled after being hit. Dayshen Shell picked up the ball and returned it just past midfield, and eventually, Milford Mill scored.

On Glenelg’s next drive, Paul Piowarski broke off a nice run, but Howard came from behind and took the ball and sped the other direction to Glenelg’s 27. Five plays later, Howard went untouched into the end zone with 28.2 seconds remaining in the first half, giving Milford Mill a 28-0 advantage.

“They (Milford Mill) were more physical,” said Gladiators coach Tim Cullen. “They were faster and bigger. Our kids fought their butts off, but it wasn’t enough.”

Cullen commended his 18 seniors, the driving force behind Glenelg’s best season since reaching the 2A state final in 2018. 

“We had a lot of holes to fill this year…we had a lot of young guys up because of those holes and the seniors embraced them and brought them along,” said Cullen. “I thought we were decent, but we started getting better and better as the year went.” 

The Millers also reached the state final in 2018 – a devastating come-from-ahead loss to Frederick County’s Linganore (led 19-0 in first half) in the 3A title match. 

Milford Mill, which last won a state title in 1987 (1A), is a win away from going back to Navy.

“We’ve got leadership, some great returnees, and some old, old-time football players,” said White, a star two-way linemen on the 1987 title team who’s been coach at his alma-mater since 2002. “Now we just have to put it all together and go and prove it.”

Class 2A state quarterfinal

No. 10 Milford Mill Academy 35, No. 15 Glenelg 3

Glenelg 0 0 0 3 – 3

Milford Mill 6 22 7 0 – 35

First quarter

Milford Mill – Chris Butler 20 run (kick failed)

Second quarter

Milford Mill – Butler 12 run (Butler run)

Milford Mill – Butler 12 run (kick failed)

Milford Mill – Taysheen Howard 5 run (Howard run)

Third quarter

Milford Mill – Butler 7 run (Daysen Shell kick) 

Fourth quarter

Glenelg – Michael Fernandes 40 field goal