Quarterback Reid Herring found Trey Threatt on Millbrook’s first drive for a 26-yard leaping touchdown catch and Jonte Leaston on a 19-yard score in the second quarter as the Wildcats built a lead Friday night and topped Sanderson 28-7 in the regular-season finale.
Sanderson wanted to contain Millbrook’s ground game, and the early passing plays opened space for running back Marcus Marshall. He put a move on a defender before taking off down the left sideline for a 41-yard carry early in the second half, stepping out of bounds at the 5. He scored on the next play to put the Wildcats up 21-7.
Marshall broke free for another long run, taking the Wildcats’ first snap of the fourth quarter 61 yards for his second touchdown to cap the scoring. Marshall finished with 161 yards on 17 carries. Leaston finished with five receptions for 87 yards, and Threatt had three for 67 yards.
That offensive flexibility will continue to be key for Millbrook (9-2, 6-1 Cap Eight) going forward, as the Wildcats open their state playoffs journey next Friday.
“If we’re not able to do both throw and pass, we’re one dimensional and we don’t want to be one dimensional, especially not in the playoffs,” coach Clarence Inscore said.
Sanderson scored on the opening drive of the game and then was shut down by the Wildcats’ defense.
“It’s a big boost of confidence,” Inscore said. “Sanderson came out with a good game plan. They were running the ball pretty well in the first quarter and scored on us to start the game, but we didn’t panic and that’s a credit to our coaches and a credit to our kids They stuck in there and did what they had to do, made some adjustments and were able to stop them.”
Sanderson’s Cole Nigro carried the ball on the Spartans’ first seven snaps of the opening drive, racking up 38 yards and putting the visiting team in the red zone. After a holding penalty, freshman Alim McNeill scored from 16 yards.
But the Spartans wouldn’t reach the red zone again.
“We felt like we were more physical than them, so we tried to come out with that mentality,” Sanderson coach Ben Kolstad said. “We play a lot of guys both ways, so I think that’s a big factor. I think we wore down a little bit.”
Nigro, who also plays middle linebacker, led the Spartans (3-8, 2-5) with 81 yards on 21 carries. McNeill also plays offense and defense.
As Millbrook’s defense tightened, Sanderson’s offense struggled – accumulating 40 yards in the first half after the opening drive and going six possessions without a first down.
Despite the loss, Kolstad, in his second-year with the Spartans, said he was proud of the team’s effort.
“Our record is not what we wanted it to be this year, but our kids have given great effort,” Kolstad said. “We’ve overcome a lot. We’ve got a good group of young men, and I’m proud of them.”