MILLVILLE – The Victory Cup is staying in Millville.
With a dominant defensive performance, the Millville High School football team defeated Vineland 21-0 for their seventh straight Thanksgiving win.
It was the Thunderbolts’ first shutout over Vineland since 2011 and the program’s 20th win over the last 24 games against their rival. The Fighting Clan still lead the series 63-62-19.
The defense even got into the scoring act with a 25-yard fumble return by sophomore defensive back Marcial Ramos, who picked up the ball that was forced out by Samuel Oquendo. The defensive score put Millville up 13-0 in the first quarter. Ramos also had an interception in the third quarter.
“I don’t think we made any changes (to what we do) on defense,” Ramos said. “We were just excited coming into the game. Coach (Dennis Thomas) just preached flying around the ball and that’s what we did today for the win.
“It felt great (to score). (Oquendo) was able to get rip it out and we were just flying around the ball.”
The Millville defense was thumping on a Vineland offense that was without running back Daivon Seymore. The team allowed just 105 total yards and created five turnovers – three fumble recoveries and two interceptions of Vineland’s Lindon Williams.
“We pretty much did the same things we’ve done all season,” Thomas said. “We played some more seniors and it was pretty good for our defense to go out there and perform well. They executed the game plan and it was just great to have us go out there and really shut down their offense.”
The Millville offense wasn’t spectacular, but it was efficient enough to win. Senior quarterback Will Polhamus finished 13-for-17 passing for 97 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but ended up walking off the field with a victory and multiple school records.
The senior set the record for completions in a season with 110, breaking the previous mark of 98 set by Mark Saul in 1994. Also, his 76.4 completion percentage on the day put his season completion percentage at 63.2 percent, which topped the record of 60 percent set by Bryan Pfirman in 2004.
“It’s amazing and I’m just so thankful for my team,” Polhamus said. “My team, my line, my receivers, I couldn’t have done any of it without them. I’m grateful for all of (the records). It feels great and there’s no better feeling that winning your final game. Now you get to go home, relax and just enjoy the win all day.”
Millville’s two offensive touchdowns came off drives that started in Vineland territory. The Bolts drove from the Vineland 41 and capped off the drive with a 9-yard run from sophomore running back Clayton Scott to give Millville a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The second score came off a drive that started after a shotgun snap sailed high over Williams’ head. Scott recovered the ball and was brought down at the Vineland 30. Polhamus finished off the drive on a 3rd-and-goal from the 10. The senior found junior wide receiver Khary Folayan wide open in the end zone for the final score of the day. Scott ran in the two-point conversion to give Millville a 21-0 lead in the third quarter.
The Bolts (6-4) finished off a winning season – its fifth in the last six years. There’s plenty of room to grow for a young squad that will return nine of its 11 starters next year on defense. The unit will only continue to get stronger. Thomas wants the team to stay hungry, even past their victorious Thanksgiving meal.
“We have a really high-quality off-season conditioning program,” Thomas said. “I look forward to our guys getting bigger, stronger and faster. We’re going to be contenders. I’ll tell you that.
“I told the guys this year that we would be contenders and win Group V, but we came a little short. We’re going to be contenders next year again. Not because coach Thomas is here, but because these kids are going out there and putting 100 percent on the line and giving their heart.”
Millville 21, Vineland 0
Vineland (3-7) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Millville (6-4) 13 0 8 0 — 21
M: Clayton Scott 9 run (Douglas kick)
M: Marcial Ramos 25 fumble return (kick failed)
M: Khary Folayan 10 catch from Will Polhamus (Scott run)
Team stats Millville Vineland
First downs 10 9
Rushes-yards 25-58 28-66
Passing yards 97 39
Comp-Att-Int 13-17-1 6-21-2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-3
Sacks-yards lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 9-80 4-30
Rushing: M-Clayton Scott 14-33, Jermer Downing 3-11, Will Polhamus 3-3, Maurice Lewis 3-4, Antonio Drake 1-11, Stephen Haynes 1-(-4). V-Isaih Pacheco 15-33, Robert Blakely 6-23, Lindon Williams 1-2, Isaiah Jones 6-8.
Passing: M-Will Polhamus 13-17-1, 97 yards. V-Lindon Williams 6-20-2, 39 yards.
Receiving: M-Samuel Oquendo 1-11, Carlton Lawrence 5-51, Marcial Ramos 3-10, Dajour Brown 1-10, Clayton Scott 2-5, Khary Folayan 1-10. V-Isaih Pacheco 1-(-5), Jarred Banks 4-41, Juan Gonzalez 1-3.