Indians get payback for regular season setback with a victory over the Millers in the 3A North playoffs
by Nelson Coffin
As he did in the regular season meeting between Baltimore County football giants Franklin and Milford Mill Academy, Indians running back Elijah Solomon flashed a running style that is both quick and powerful.
In that earlier encounter won by the Millers (9-2) in overtime, 19-13, Solomon wasted no time showing his stuff by rambling 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
On Friday in a Class 3A North Region semifinal, Solomon took a little longer to get going, although with even more devastating effects in 11th-ranked Franklin’s 15-12 triumph.
After his interception of Milford Mill sophomore quarterback Rishon Holmes, the 6-foot, 220-pound two-way senior star waited until Franklin’s second possession to strike on a 70-yard bolt up the middle as he went untouched into the end zone to stake his team to a 6-0 advantage with just over five minutes left in the opening period.
In the second quarter, after No. 9 Milford Mill tied the score on an 8-yard pass from Holmes to junior wideout Khalil Scott, Solomon pounced again on a 31-yard TD run to put his team back on top, 12-6.
If that wasn’t enough, Solomon had more to offer.
On a hook-and-ladder, he was the recipient of a pitch at the end of a pass completion that he carried 30 yard to the Millers’ 45-yard line.
From there he added another 30-yard carry that would lead to junior Simon Spath’s 26-yard field goal — the eventual winning margin — and a solid 15-6 halftime cushion that would be just enough for the Indians (9-2) to claim a tough road victory, a feat they will try to repeat when traveling to No. 12 Dundalk (10-1) in the regional final next week.
Franklin handed the Owls their lone defeat of the season, so beating them again will be a challenge.
If Solomon plays like he did against the Millers, Franklin should be in good shape against a Dundalk team that has plenty of weapons of its own.
Solomon said that there was a reason why he was able to amass 160 all-purpose yards in the first half alone against the Millers.
“Our linemen were finally pushing Milford back,” said Solomon, who also wrestles and plays lacrosse for the Indians. “And our RBs were going to the outside a lot in the last game. This time we were going inside.”
However, momentum would change quickly in the third quarter after the Millers put together their first and only sustained drive of the game, a 10-play sequence capped by Holmes’ 15-yard keeper to inch his team to within 15-12 midway through the period.
Milford Mill threatened after that as well, especially in the fourth quarter when two of its drives began inside Franklin’s 40 and two others started close to midfield.
Despite excellent field position and ample time to score, the Millers could not solve the Indians’ stingy defense that featured the aforementioned Solomon interception and another pick by sophomore defensive back Daymon David.
Junior lineman Montre Harris, senior lineman Robert Garrett and junior linebacker Jay Thompson had sacks at key moments for Franklin in the game as well.
“Our defense has been playing well all year,” Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said. “We knew they had lethal weapons in (senior athlete Desmond) Shell, No. 4 (junior wideout Tyree Sheppard and the quarterback (Holmes), so we just had to play assignment football. Their running game is so good, that we tried to force them to pass.”
Burgos said he believes that Solomon is the best player in the Baltimore area.
“He’s just so powerful, and he makes people miss (tackling him),” Burgos said. “He’s versatile, too. But what I like best about him is how hard he works.”
Milford’s “D” had nothing to hang its head about either, considering it pitched a shutout in the second half with Scott blunting one Indian drive with an interception and all the others ended with punts.
All told in the second half, Franklin was held to under 50 yards of total offense while being pinned down deep in its own territory for most of its possessions,
3A NORTH REGION SEMIFINAL
(at Milford Mill)
NO. 11 FRANKLIN 15, NO. 9 MILFORD MILL 12
FR 6 9 0 0 — 15
MM 6 0 6 0 — 12
FR-Elijah Solomon 70 run (kick failed)
MM-Khalil Scott pass from Rishon Holmes (kick failed)
FR-Elijah Solomon 31 run (kick failed)
FR-Simon Spath 26 FG
MM-Rishon Holmes 15 run (pass failed)