For a program that has been so well known for its incredibly dangerous offensive weapons, Millwood is playing smashmouth defense, and that's why the Falcons are moving on to the Class 2A semifinals.
Millwood allowed 232 total yards in a 40-14 win over Lincoln Christian in a Class 2A quarterfinal Friday night at L.W. Good Stadium.
The win sets up a semifinal game against Hennessey, which upset Millwood in the semifinals last season before going on to win the 2A title.
The Falcons (11-2) allowed just eight first downs on Friday, holding Lincoln Christian well below its average of 42 points per game. And that performance comes one week after Millwood went to Davis and held the Wolves to only seven points.
“The last two weeks, we've played one of the better run teams in 2A, and now we played one of the better pass teams,” Millwood coach Tony Henry said. “The kids have believed in what we're running and they've done a good job.
“It's just focus in practice. We've been showing them exactly what these teams are going to do, how they're going to line up and how we're going to defend it. The players are coming out and executing.”
The week of preparation for Lincoln Christian's spread offense was a big change from last week, getting ready for Davis' triple-option, but the Falcons showed no signs of trouble. The secondary came up with three interceptions, the last of which Dashawn Stephens returned 48 yards for a touchdown.
“It was a big transition,” sophomore Cameron Batson said. “The coaches did a good job of preparing us for Lincoln Christian. We knew they liked to pass a lot, run a lot of out routes. The coaches put us in position, so as players, we just had to go out and play good.”
Henry heaped the praise back on his players.
“They've actually played better than they're coached,” Henry said. “To hold Davis and Lincoln Christian to those low scores, that's hard to do if you're playing a perfect game, much less in two straight weeks.”
Make no mistake, the Millwood offense still has plenty of pop, too.
Despite quarterback Dametric Sanders and running back Marc Robinson playing through knee injuries in the second half, the Falcons piled up 450 total yards — 421 of it on the ground.
They didn't attempt a pass in the second half, and they didn't need to.
Often lining up in the diamond formation with Sanders surrounded by Robinson, Larry Lambeth and Sheldon Bulock, Millwood attacked with power and speed. All four players had at least 92 rushing yards. Sanders led the way with 17 carries for 127, while Robinson added three touchdowns and 105 yards on 16 rushes.
Bullock finished with 94 yards, and Lambeth had all 92 of his yards on eight second-half carries.
“Fortunately, we were able to get a couple big runs to give us a big gap,” Robinson said. “We came out here and got us a good victory. I'm just looking forward to next week, playing Hennessey once again. I can't wait.”