VIDEO

PHOTOS

Milford Mill Academy football team is off to its best start since 2005. And the Millers owe a huge debt to Jamaal Morant.

The senior rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown and had an interception for another score as Milford Mill advanced to 4-0 with a 33-24 homecoming victory over Perry Hall Saturday. Kyle McEachern ran and threw for a touchdown.

The Washington Avenue school scored twice in a 45-second window in the final three minutes of regulation to remain in a first-place tie with No. 9 Franklin (both are 3-0). Last season, Milford Mill dropped a 12-9 decision at Perry Hall, ruining a 3-0 start.

The Millers’ 2012 opening is the best since a 7-0 run in 2005 when they finished 11-2 and reached the Class 2A state semifinals. Longtime Milford Mill coach Reggie White said his team is developing an unique bond.

“This is our best win as far as players having each other back,” said White. “We’re smaller in numbers but tight as a group.”

The Millers had to come from behind twice against the Gators (1-3, 1-2) in the second half Saturday. Trailing 16-14 in the third, Morant scored on a 10-yard run.

Perry Hall regained the lead early in the fourth quarter as senior quarterback Chris Ricker found Mike Morris from 25 yards out. The Gators ran a fake point after and Jeff Iweh caught the pass for the two-point conversion for a 24-21 lead with 10 minutes, 46 seconds to play.

With 2:54 remaining, McEachern scampered 10 yards for a touchdown, giving Milford Mill its final lead. Morant, playing linebacker on defense, grabbed a Ricker pass and returned it 24 yards for the Millers’ last score with 2:19 to play.

“He [Ricker] was throwing to No. 5 [John Myers] on the quick out all day, but No. 3 [Morris] did a curl so I got into the zone,” said Morant. “My linemen actually tipped the ball and it came to me.”

Perry Hall appeared primed to claim the lead before halftime, but Morant cleanly took the ball from Morris inside the Millers’ five-yard line with 25.6 seconds left in the second. Morant finished with 15 tackles (two for loss) to go with a fumble force and recovery and interception return.

“Jamaal is playing at an All-Met level,” said White, a former standout linemen at Milford who played in Super Bowl XXIX with the San Diego Chargers.

The Millers led 14-3 in the second quarter, thanks to a one-yard run by Deontaye White and 54-yard pass from McEachern to senior Raymond Adams. The Gators recovered from the late first half fumble to claim the lead at 16-14 on Ricker’s 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Chmielewski with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

But Millers responded with a long scoring drive, capped with Morant’s run. White lauded the Millers’ offensive line with Ryan Miller (subbing for suspended Ronald Tutstone) , Jordan Spencer, Anthony McNeil, Ray Booker and tight end Anthony Dunston.

Milford Mill will put its perfect mark on the line Friday night at Woodlawn. The Millers posted a 47-7 decision over the longtime neighborhood rival last year.

“They’re big and their defense is stout,” said White, who will face his former assistant in Woodlawn coach DaVaughn Mellerson. “The win-loss record doesn’t matter, it’s Milford Mill-Woodlawn.”

Milford Mill 33, Perry Hall 24

Perry Hall 0 10 6 8-24

Milford Mill 6 8 7 12-33

First quarter

Milford Mill: White 1 run (kick blocked)

Second quarter

Perry Hall: Myers 37 field goal

Milford Mill: Adams 54 pass from McEachern (White run)

Perry Hall: Iweh 3 run (Myers kick)

Third quarter

Perry Hall: Chmielewski 24 pass from Ricker (conversion failed)

Milford Mill: Morant 10 run (Jones kick)

Fourth quarter

Perry Hall: Morris 25 pass from Ricker (Iweh pass from

Milford Mill: McEachern 10 run (conversion failed)

Milford Mill: Morant 32 interception return (conversion failed)