Millbrook won its first five football games in 2010.
Those games included a shutout victory against an eventual 11-3 Garner club that averaged 35 points, plus a 28-18 victory over a Southern Durham team that reached the second round of the 4-A playoffs.
The season turned dramatically when Broughton outscored the Wildcats 52-26 in the teams' first Cap Eight 4-A league games of the season. The next week, the Wildcats lost to Wakefield 48-34.
"We shot ourselves in the foot with our mistakes against Broughton, and Broughton played very well. The next week, we just couldn't stop Wakefield's passing game," Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore said.
The Cap Eight's top four teams scored an average of five touchdowns each against the Wildcats. The defense did play well at times, slowing eventual state 4-AA finalist Wake Forest-Rolesville in a 21-12 regular-season loss and a 13-0 first-round playoff loss.
"We were just not as consistent as we needed to be," Inscore said. "At times, we played well."
Millbrook is the No. 12 team in The News & Observer's preseason top dozen.
The defense has back just two starters, and the offense must replace much of its interior blocking and quarterback.
But no team in the state has a faster or more highly acclaimed running back than Keith Marshall, the reigning state 100 meters champion and a national sprint champion.
Marshall has the potential to score any time he touches the ball, a talent that has produced more than 35 Division I scholarship offers. He rushed for 1,550 yards and scored 17 touchdowns despite defenses keying on his every move.
"He is the strength of our team," Inscore said. "He is a great runner, but everybody we play knows he is a great runner. We have to do some things to give him some running room."
Corey Cooper and Mike Weaver are big-play receivers, and Matthew DeFraffinreed (6 feet 3, 303 pounds) and Lewis Crumsey (5-11, 250) are veteran blockers.
"We've got a lot of positions to fill, but I like our team, and I think we have some of the pieces," Inscore said. "We've worked well in the weight room and have gotten better. We still have a lot of work to do."
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