MILLVILLE – There have been thousands of players who've suited up to play in the Millville-Vineland high school football rivalry since its inception in 1893.
However, few have made the impact in their series debut like Millville’s Lotzeir Brooks, who dazzled in the 150th meeting between the two teams on Thanksgiving.
The freshman dynamo showed off his electrifying skills in his first Turkey Day performance, catching a pair of touchdown passes and setting a South Jersey record for receiving yards by a freshman, to highlight the Millville High School football team’s 47-0 rout over rival Vineland at Wheaton Field.
Millville’s 47-point win tied the mark for most lopsided in the series (the Thunderbolts won 55-8 in 2013), but it was the largest margin of victory by shutout, eclipsing Vineland’s old mark of 45-0 set in 1926. Millville has won the last two meetings by a combined 82-3 score, narrowing its deficit in the all-time series to 67-64-19.
Senior LeQuint Allen has been a pivotal playmaker in the rivalry and he wrote another strong chapter in his Millville’s storied history, scoring three touchdowns and being crowned Homecoming King in his final home game. Following a tradition, the seniors were carried off the field by the underclassmen.
“We just came out and played OBG (orange and blue gang) football,” said the Syracuse commit, who rushed for 72 yards and raised his season total for yards to 1,674 and touchdowns to 22. “It felt good, but we have one more to go.”
Millville (11-1) will play in its first NJSIAA Bowl Game on Dec. 5 when it plays Central Jersey champion Winslow (9-3) in the South-Central game at Rutgers University. Kickoff is 4 p.m.
Despite having a bigger prize on the horizon, Millville wasn’t talking turkey when it met its bitter rival. Maneuvering around a couple of turnovers early, the Thunderbolts kept their starters on the field throughout the first half and took a 45-point lead into the intermission.
“We handled business, that’s what we wanted to do,” Millville head coach Dennis Thomas said. “This game here was a trap game. It’s big for the community, but there’s bigger things that we want to accomplish now and in the future. We want to win (the regional title) next week. There’s going to be a situation where we want to be playing for a state title too.”
While Allen’s scholastic career is coming to a close, Brooks’ is just starting and appears to have a ceiling taller than any cathedral.
Blessed with blazing speed and the ability to outjump any defensive back, Brooks showed off those skills on a pair of catches in the end zone, high-pointing the ball with a defender draped all over him.
Brooks raised his season receiving yard total to 912, surpassing the old South Jersey mark for a freshman held by Pennsauken’s Ejani Shakir (861) set in 2019, per South Jersey historian Chuck Langerman. Brooks also has 13 receiving touchdowns.
“It means a lot,” Brooks said about the record. “I knew about it. I wanted to break it.”This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.
While his average catch goes for close to 30 yards, the quiet and humble pass catcher limits many of his answers to reporter’s questions to fewer than 10 words, letting his actions on the field speak volumes. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound speedster already has eight college scholarship offers, including Rutgers, Texas A&M and Pitt, and earned an invitation to participate in the national combine at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January.
“He’s just a quiet guy, really quiet,” Thomas said. “But as far as his talent, he hasn’t even scratched the surface on what he can do. He’s a special player.”
Brooks made a pair of tough catches off perfectly placed throws from senior quarterback Nate Robbins for TDs of 29 and 18 yards.
“Always trust that quarterback,” Brooks said. “He keeps the whole team together.”
Robbins surpassed the 2,500-yard mark for the season and raised his season TD total to 29.
“Nate’s a phenomenal player,” Thomas said. “He had a couple of interceptions early, but I don’t even worry about that. I know he has the mentality and is even-keeled that he can come back and execute.”This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.
Millville’s defense has been executing lately too. Over the last seven games, the Thunderbolts’ first-team defense has allowed just one touchdown.
“We’re mean,” Allen, who doubles as a hard-hitting linebacker, said. “We play hard, we play physical and we’re always flying to the ball."
While the Vineland defense forced two early turnovers, the Fighting Clan struggled to take advantage and would see themselves totally cooked by the halftime. A disappointing season finished on a sour note with a 2-10 record.
“We’ve got a young group and this loss certainly gives us some extra motivation heading into the offseason,” Vineland head coach Dan Russo said. “Our seniors were 2-2 against this team in their career. For the younger guys, we need these kids in the weight room. We’re work hard in the offseason and we’ll be back.”
Tom McGurk is a regional sports reporter for the Courier-Post, The Daily Journal and Burlington County Times, covering South Jersey sports for over 30 years. If you have a sports story that needs to be told, contact him at (856) 486-2420 or email [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @McGurkSports. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription.
This article originally appeared on Vineland Daily Journal: H.S. football: Brooks shines in Turkey Day debut; Millville cooks Vineland in 150th meeting
Source : https://news.yahoo.com/h-football-brooks-shines-turkey-201334579.html1688