The Millville High School football team flexed its offensive muscles Friday.
Its defense more than held up its end of the bargain, too.
The Thunderbolts struck early and often en route to a convincing 35-7 win over host Mainland in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game at The Mustang Corral. The victory was Millville’s 12th consecutive regular season win — sixth straight on the road — dating to 2010. It was the Bolts’ first win at Mainland since 2004.
After a long opening drive stalled for Millville to open the game, the Bolts rebounded to score touchdowns on their next four possessions to close out the first half in cruising to a 28-0 lead.
Four different Bolts found paydirt before intermission, with wide receiver DeQuan Bowman scoring on a 3-yard run with 10 minutes, 50 seconds left in the second quarter to give Millville a 6-0 lead.
Sophomore running back Robert Ennis Jr. extended the Bolts’ lead on a 14-yard touchdown run with 3:25 to play in the first half. Millville ran an end-around to backup quarterback Roberto Rivera, who fired to Bowman on a 2-point pass to give the Bolts a 14-0 lead.
“The plan was to minimize penalties and play good defense,” said Ennis, who picked up 106 yards on 19 carries in the first half.
Ennis finished with 189 yards on 27 carries and added an insurance touchdown on a 68-yard dash down the right sideline with 1:24 left in the game.
“Once the offensive line clicks like that, everything starts working pretty well,” Ennis said. “The passing game and the run game were going, and without the line we wouldn’t be able to do what we did (Friday).”
Millville (2-0) outgained the Mustangs (1-1) 269-55 in the opening two quarters. Junior safety Roberto Rivera starred on defense again, picking off Mainland quarterback Dylan Swenson twice in the first half, giving the defensive back three interceptions on the young season.
Rivera’s second pick of the half set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Bolts quarterback Rashon Sorrell with 1:49 left in the second quarter. After a Mainland punt, Millville marched 80 yards in one minute with Sorrell finding wide receiver Alskee Downing on a 21-yard touchdown pass with just four seconds left before the break.
“It’s sending a statement to everybody,” Rivera said of Millville’s defensive performance. “We’re working hard every day in practice and it feels good to go out there and show people what we’re really about.”
Bolts kicker Brendyn VanDemark converted his first two extra points of the season to give Millville a 28-0 lead at halftime.
“I felt like we had a lot of contributions from several different people,” Millville coach Jason Durham said.
It was a near-perfect game for Millville after last week’s back-and-forth, mistake-filled 24-19 win over Atlantic City. Sorrell was especially effective, going 11-of-17 for 145 yards with the rushing and passing score.
“I was a lot more comfortable,” Sorrell said of his game. “That first game I had the jitters, everyone did, and we just came out a lot more confident this week.”
Mainland finally found the scoreboard with 3:33 left in the game after a blocked punt turned into a 5-yard touchdown pass from Swenson to wide receiver Joseph Sutor.
Millville will welcome in perennial power St. Joseph next week in the Bolts’ home opener at Wheaton Field.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing St. Joe. We know they’re an outstanding football program,” Durham said. “We’re just excited to have an opportunity to play them, especially with us being 2-0 at this point.”