VINELAND - The Millville High School football team continued to close in on its Thanksgiving Day rival with a 48-8 victory over Vineland at Gittone Stadium on Thursday.
Rob Ennis scored four touchdowns as Millville won its fourth straight game in the series, leaving Vineland with a 63-59-19 all-time lead. Millville's 48 points is the most points scored by either team in the history of the rivalry.
The teams first met in 1893, making it one of the nation's longest standing Thanksgiving rivalries. The Thunderbolts have dominated the series the last 20 years. The Fighting Clan's last win came in 2008.
"That feels good (to close the gap)," fifth-year Millville coach Jason Durham said. "There's still a ways to go as far as that's concerned. I'm proud for these particular kids because they've worked very hard and deserve to go out this way."
More importantly, Millville capped its third straight winning season. The Thunderbolts, who reached the South Jersey Group IV final last year before falling to Pennsauken, ended this season 6-4. Millville wanted to bounce back from its tough loss to Williamstown in the S.J. Group V quarterfinal last Friday.
Senior quarterback Rashon Sorrell and senior running back Marshall McShan made sure the Thunderbolts would go out as winners. Sorrell, who passed for 92 yards, scored the second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run, his fourth rushing TD of the season. McShan followed that up with two rushing touchdowns. He finished with 51 yards on the ground.
"(Winning today) was very important," the 17-year old Sorrell said. "Since we were freshmen, we never lost to Vineland, and we wanted to go out with a sweep."
The seniors did their part, but Ennis, a sophomore, led the scoring with his four rushing touchdowns, which gave him 18 for the season. He rushed for 161 yards, giving him 1,498 for the season.
Ennis had scores of 29 and 25 yards by breaking tackles and rolling off defenders. He got three of his TDs in the first half as Millville built a 35-0 lead.
"Its feels good to come out and win the Vineland game first of all, and whatever happens from there you want to be thankful for," Ennis said. "I just thank God to allow me to come out here and do what I'm able to do."
As the game winded down, Vineland finally found some rhythm. Backup quarterback Angel Rodriguez, a junior, came in and led Vineland down the field. In the first half, the Fighting Clan only got one first down. Rodriguez helped them get three more in the second half, including the play that led to their touchdown.
On a third-down play from midfield, Rodriguez connected with Lance Bryant for 24 yards, and Isaiah Spencer followed that by running for another first down.
A pass interference call on Millville set Vineland up at Millville's 12. Rodriguez hit senior Calvin Stiles for a 9-yard touchdown pass and completed the two-point conversion with a pass to Toure Douglas.
"We were glad to score," Vineland coach Josh Hedgeman said. "(Avoding the shutout) wasn't our overall goal. It was to keep fighting at the end. It was to play hard."
Both bleachers were full. Both marching bands put on entertaining shows. The players have been facing each other since they started in midget football.
It was the 141st meeting between the schools.
"It's a special rivalry and we really enjoy being a part of it," Durham said. "I hope it continues forever."
Contact Kelly Ashe:
Millville 14 21 7 6-48
Vineland 0 0 0 8-8
M-Ennis 5 run (conversion good)
M-Sorrell 9 run (kick failed)
M-Ennis 7 run (conversion good)
M-Ennis 29 run (kick blocked)
M-McShan 7 run (VanDemark kick)
M-Ennis 25 run (VanDemark kick)
M-McShan 8 run (kick blocked)
V-Stiles 9 pass from Rodriguez (conversion good)
TEAM STATISTICS M V
First downs 14 4
Turnovers 1 2
Rushing-Millville, Ennis 16-161, McShan 7-51, Sorrell 3-30, Bowman 2-12, Worthy 3-15.
Passing-Millville, Sorrell 7-10-0-92.
Receiving-Millville, Bowman 3-43, Downing 1-27, Allen 2-15, Worthy 1-7.
Vineland individual statistics not available.
Records-Millville 6-4, Vineland 2-8.
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