Most of the Millville High School football team stared blankly around Wheaton Field just over two weeks ago after a last-second Absegami field goal left the Thunderbolts with their second straight loss and a 2-2 record on the season.
Not used to losing — it happened just once last year for Millville, in the Group IV South title game — the Bolts were left to reflect on where to go after seeing their record dip to .500 on the young 2012 campaign.
Fortunately for Millville, it had an extra week to think about things with the team’s bye week taking place while other schools around South Jersey hit the gridiron Oct. 5.
The break couldn’t have come at a much better time for the Bolts.
With last night’s Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game against Holy Spirit, and the upcoming tilts with Egg Harbor Township and Oakcrest, Millville’s playoff future is likely to be determined by Oct. 26.
Though the group’s obvious goal is to be competing in the postseason again, that is the furthest thing from the team’s mind at the moment.
“Our focus right now is to just win football games. The next game, whoever it’s against,” Bolts’ two-way junior lineman Antoine White said before Friday’s game. “Getting to the postseason is obviously something we want to achieve, but we can’t worry about that right now. Right now, we need to stay together and get the job done on a weekly basis.”
White, one of Millville’s captains this year, said the Bolts put in a lot of attention to detail and fixing some of the prior week’s mistakes that led to those losses. The Absegami defeat was particularly hard to swallow considering Millville squandered a 15-point lead in the game.
“That was a stinger altogether,” White said of the loss to the Braves. “As a program, we need to come back from that. Our goals are still within reach. We need to keep our heads high and come out with confidence.
“There wasn’t just one emotion we were feeling after that loss. We were upset and disappointed.”
Millville isn’t doubting its abilities after the two losses.
The first was against St. Joseph, the No. 1 team in South Jersey and No. 7 team in the state, while the loss to Absegami was clearly a winnable game.
“As a team, we respect every opponent, but we fear no team,” White said. “Moving forward, we need to be explosive out of the gates and keep up that same intensity all game.”
The bye week also allowed some time for Millville’s players to rest up.
Starting quarterback Rashon Sorrell, who was knocked from the Absegami game with a rib injury, recovered and is back under center.
Sophomore running back Robert Ennis Jr., who had been nursing a sore knee, also benefited from the time off. Ennis racked up 515 yards on 73 carries with five touchdowns entering Friday night’s game against Holy Spirit.