Millbrook quarterback Reid Herring took a knee as the final seconds ticked off to set off a celebration that featured Wildcats head coach Clarence Inscore thrusting two arms skyward and Marcus Marshall pumping fists as he trotted to the sideline with 154 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
Fifth-seeded Millbrook reveled in a 28-27 upset of No. 4 seed Richmond County on Friday night in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletics Association 4AA playoffs.
The win came on the hallowed ground of Raiders Stadium where banners decorate the walls that proclaim seven state titles between 1978 and 2008, past high school All-American players and NFL products produced by the school.
“Oh my gosh – this is unbelievable,” Inscore said among his jubilant players and coaches. “To come into Richmond County and win a football game is not heard of very often. Credit our guys for playing hard and credit them for playing hard. Our guys stuck it out and made the plays when they had to.”
Millbrook improved to 11-2 with its seventh straight victory since a midseason loss in Cap 8 4A play to conference champion Wake Forest. Richmond County finished with an 11-2 record.
The game’s decisive play was a Raiders’ missed extra-point kick after Richmond County had trimmed Millbrook’s lead to 28-27 with a 1-yard touchdown run by Miles Grant on fourth-and-goal with 2:26 to play. Brandon Greene’s kick was a line drive to the left.
The Raiders tried an onside kick, but Millbrook sophomore Sam Weeks went to a knee to cradle the ball and safely fall to the turf.
With Richmond County down to one timeout, Millbrook was able to run out the clock when Marshall broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and gained 16 yards for a first down on third-and-12.
Marshall finished the night with 21 carries for 154 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 70, 11, 31 and 9. His 9-yard score gave Millbrook a 28-21 lead with 9:22 to play. The first-down score was set up by Elijah Cooley’s fumble recovery.
Richmond County entered the game averaging 325 yards rushing and 43.6 points per game. The Wildcats held them to 302 yards rushing and 346 total yards, but Millbrook also benefited from seven turnovers. Richmond County fumbled 10 times and lost six along with an interception.