London Potts knew he'd have the chance for big plays. The Millwood quarterback simply had to make the opportunities count.
Accounting for 182 of Millwood's 261 yards through the air, Potts — with some help from a strong defense — guided the Falcons to an 18-7 victory over Douglass Saturday in the 37th annual Soul Bowl at Moses F. Miller Stadium.
“We keyed the pass defense that Douglass has, and we knew our passing game could be a strong point today, with the way we throw the ball,” Potts said. “But our defense made the big plays. That's what kept us in the game and allowed us to win it.”
Copying what succeeded a week ago for Tulsa Washington, Millwood used the big pass plays to compliment an attacking defensive front that slowed the Douglass run game and kept pressure on the quarterback.
The Falcons utilized a five-man front, routinely breaking through the line to make stops in the backfield. Douglass had just 12 total yards and two first downs in the first half, while Millwood built an 18-0 lead.
“Our main focus was to stop the run,” Millwood junior defensive end Quincy Dotson said. “We came out with the five-man set to stop the run and keep them from doing what they do best.
“We started feeling some momentum from the start and when we get our momentum up, we can play our best.”
Millwood forced the Douglass offense into three-and-outs on its first three possessions, and the offense fed off that momentum.
Though this is his first season as a full-time starter at Millwood, Potts has enough experience to keep calm in the pocket and take advantage of holes in the defense.
His second pass of the day was a 47-yard strike to Alonso McMillan for a touchdown. He hit McMillan again for 43 yards to set up a TD run by Janari Glover on the Falcons' next possession.
Potts had 25- and 27-yard completions to McMillan on Millwood's next scoring series early in the second quarter, the last being a crucial throw on fourth-and-12 to keep the drive alive. McMillan finished with five catches for 150 yards.
“London is getting better each week,” Millwood coach Tony Henry said. “He knew where he was going at the snap, made some good reads and played great.”
When Sheldon Bulock scored from 2 yards moments after the fake punt, the Falcons were up 18-0 and had all the points the defense would need.
“When you hold Douglass to seven points on their field, you can't point to one guy who played well,” Henry said. “All of those guys played well. To be able to keep them from scoring until there's about 2:30 left — I don't think we could play this game again and do that.”
The Falcons (2-0) now turn their focus to Prime Prep Academy, a Dallas-area charter school co-coached by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Millwood will host Prime Prep on Friday night.
“We know they'll come ready to play, so we have to be ready to play,” Potts said. “It's on our home field, so we don't plan on losing there.”