Defense wins championships — and lately, Soul Bowls, too.
It was Millwood's defense that went to work on Saturday, holding Douglass to 206 total yards in a 31-12 decision at Millwood's L.W. Good Stadium.
“They brought it,” first-year Millwood coach Darwin Franklin said of his defense's performance in the 38th annual Soul Bowl. “They toughened up when they had to. We knew they ran the ball, knew Coach (Willis) Alexander has them coached well and they'll do what they do. It was a matter of being disciplined and doing what we're supposed to do.”
Of course, the offense did its part for Class 2A's top-ranked Falcons (2-0). Quarterback Cameron Batson, converted after starting the last three years at receiver, threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores.
Batson hit junior D'Andre Mays on a pair of 10-yard scores in the first half, and found Alfonzo McMillian for a 25-yarder in the second half.
“The main focus was to go NASCAR — just keep going and going and going fast,” Mays said of the offensive plan. “The passing game was going and everybody was getting their blocks right in the run game.”
The Falcons intercepted three passes, responding with touchdowns after two of them.
“The offense got more comfortable as we went on,” Batson said. “We had to be able to run the ball.
“But we owe this game to the defense.”
In seven of the last 11 Douglass-Millwood grudge matches, the losing team has failed to score more than two touchdowns. In nine of the 11, the losers have been held to 21 points or fewer.
On Saturday, the Millwood defense forced three turnovers, and Douglass helped the cause with 64 lost yards on bad snaps, either in the shotgun or on punts.
The Class 4A No. 3 Trojans (1-1) got on the board when Deondre Clark broke loose up the middle for a 63-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and added a late TD after a botched punt snap by Millwood — but the game was well in hand by that point.
Even with Clark's 63-yard run, the Trojans managed only 101 yards on the ground.
“We had to stop the run first,” McMillian said. “We were worried about the pass, but we were really focused on the run, because that's what Douglass does.
“A win like this helps us a lot, gives us a lot of momentum. But we're still not satisfied. We're still trying to get to December.”