By the second half the Falcons mustered enough momentum to overcome the visiting Eagles from Turlock Christian High 28-13.
The effort included three touchdowns for running back A.J. Takata, who was the Falcons’ leading threat on offense with 106 yards rushing on 13 carries. He said that the Falcons came prepared to outlast the Eagles, which will be Millennium’s approach in all of its games.
“We condition all the time and I think we had the advantage over the second half when they were tired and we were just getting started,” he said. “We work hard all the time. We don’t give up.”
Junior guard and linebacker Austin Larson added that the Falcons’ ability to shut down Turlock Christian’s offense was the difference.
“Our defense carried us the entire game and gave us momentum when we needed it. That’s what did it,” he said.
The Falcons held the Eagles to negative yardage on the ground and 170 yards passing, including two passes totaling 60 yards at the very end of the fourth quarter, when Turlock Christian scored one more touchdown.
The Falcons’ Alex Lambert recorded five tackles, and Tanner Carroll and Chris Espinoza had four tackles each. Lambert and Devon Wright each had two quarterback sacks.
The Falcons totaled 243 yards rushing, with David Sanchez contributing 57 yards on seven carries.
Turlock Christian started the game with the lead as quarterback Chase Gonzalez completed a 10-yard pass to Martin Moreda and Jesus Villapadua kicked the point after.
Millennium held onto the ball on offense for most of the rest of the first half, and finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Takata broke through the middle for a 52-yard touchdown run. The Eagles blocked the kick for the point-after and kept a 7-6 lead through the end of the first half and most of the third quarter.
The Falcons had their backs up against their own goal line when Drew Carroll faked a punt and ran the ball 22 yards to get the first down. Sanchez also ran the ball up the field to get Millennium close, but penalties brought the Falcons back.
After a quick three-and-out series for the Eagles, Millennium was ready to take over on the punt. The punt landed short and on the right side, and Tanner Carroll defied the conventional strategy of letting the ball settle on its own. Instead, he picked it up and ran in 21-yards for the touchdown.
“I played back waiting for the ball to be kicked and luckily it was not that great of a punt,” Carroll said. “I saw the bounce and all my teammates were saying, ‘Get away from the ball,’ but I saw an open field and went up to grab it and got a touchdown.”
Takata ran in the 2-point conversion to put Millennium up 14-7.
The Falcons scored again on their next possession in the fourth quarter, with quarterback Jamani Woods completing a 20-yard pass to Tanner Carroll, and Takata making the four-yard run into the end zone. Woods ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 22-7.
Teams traded the ball back and forth before Takata scored again on a 28-yard run up the middle toward the end of the fourth. With about two minutes left the Eagles’ Gonzalez twice connected with Micah Larsson, the second time on a 35-yard pass play, were Larsson ran it down the left side for the touchdown.
07:53 – Turlock Christian. Chase Gonzalez 10-yard pass to Martin Moreda. Jesus Villapadua kick. Millennium 0, Turlock Christian 7.
03:45 – Millennium. A.J. Takata 52-yard run. Kick blocked. Millennium 6, Turlock Christian 7.
01:30 – Millennium. Tanner Carroll 20-yard punt return. A.J. Takata runs in conversion. Millennium 14, Turlock Christian 7.
11:09 – Millennium. A.J. Takata 4-yard run. Jamani Woods runs in conversion. Millennium 22, Turlock Christian 7.
03:17 – Millennium. A.J. Takata 28-yard run. Kick blocked. Millennium 28, Turlock Christian 7
01:43 – Turlock Christian. Gonzalez 35-yard pass to Micah Larsson. Conversion pass attempt incomplete. Millennium 28, Turlock Christian 13.