Millbrook stuns the defending league champions at Gunnery. Final Score: 32-22.
The Mustangs opened to a rocky start this year – giving up an onside kick on the opening kickoff, allowing Gunnery to score on the opening drive and then fumbling the ball away on their next possession. However, a fourth down stop on Gunnery’s next drive put the ball back in the hands of the Mustangs and they steamed ahead, grounding and pounding the football with their two starting running backs senior captain Carter Begel (#3) and sophomore Mike Nassif (#11). Unfortunately, Gunnery made a fourth down stop of their own, halting the marching Mustangs near the Gunnery end zone. The field position gained was key, though, as Gunnery was forced to punt from deep in their territory and Begel was able to take the punt back for a touchdown, breaking several tackles and getting help from a few key mustang blockers on the play. Mike Nassif caught a pass from senior captain Jake Talhami (#4) for the two-point conversion, making the score 8-6 in Millbrook’s favor. Millbrook did not score for the rest of the half, and went into halftime down 14 – 8. Millbrook had several very successful drives in the first half that did not end in points due to fumbles lost and timely dropped passes. Highlights from the first half included an interception by senior captain Joe Rotarius (#2), several fourth down stops by the Millbrook defense, and sacks by junior DE Ryan Davis (#23) and junior DL Chris Randolph (#30).
Millbrook started the second half similar to the first, allowing a Gunnery touchdown on a 50 yard pass play. Their next two drives resulted in turnovers with fumbles by both Begel and Nassif. Now down 22-8, the Mustangs began to mount their second half comeback. Halftime adjustments on the defensive side proved effective as Gunnery did not score for the rest of the game. Joe Rotarius and Mike Nassif both had interceptions in the second half, including a one-handed diving grab by Nassif to end a late game drive by Gunnery’s spread passing offense. The unending pressure from Davis, Randolph, Devine (#9), Isler (#19), Piper (#17), and Linnartz (#29), all part of the defensive line rotation, proved insurmountable for the Gunnery offense, sacking the quarterback several times in the second half and adding a handful of tackles for loss in the running game. A strip sack and subsequent fumble recovery by Randolph secured the Mustang victory at the end of the game. Stalwarts for the defense at the second level were Carter Begel and Mike Nassif at middle backer. Both were essential as run stoppers and as blitzers against the pass, tallying upwards of 20 tackles between the two.
The offense found its legs in the second half, putting up 24 points on the ground. Carter Begel broke several long runs, including a 40 yard off-tackle touchdown. He also scored two more touchdowns behind the stellar line play from Chris Randolph, Ian Devine, Liam Piper, Jordan Auerbach (#24), Ryan Davis, and Will Isler. Both Nassif and Talhami added to the point total with two point conversions to bring the final score to 32-22.
The Millbrook Mustangs showed that they are a formidable force in this league, handling adversity under pressure and coming back from a 14-point deficit to defeat the defending league champions.