MILLVILLE - Leave it to the Millville High School football team's seniors to inject some drama into a lopsided 142nd matchup with Vineland.
Ed Shockley forced a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown, Itrell Young set a single-season school record for extra points, and the Thunderbolts beat the Fighting Clan 55-8 on Thursday morning at Wheaton Field.
Millville (10-3) is ranked No. 6 in The Press Elite 11. Vineland (2-8) is rebuilding under first-year coach Dan Russo. The teams first met in 1893, and the Fighting Clan lead the series 63-60-19, but the Thunderbolts have won five in a row against their rivals on Thanksgiving.
"It's good to end on a good note," Shockley said. "I was excited coming into this game. I just wanted to leave everything out there - you know, leave and let everyone know that I still care for the program."
Junior Rob Ennis ran for 170 yards and four touchdowns for Millville, and fellow junior Ryquell Armstead ran for 56 yards and one score. Each of them already had surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground this season.
The seniors made most of the dramatic plays on this day, though.
Shockley forced a fumble deep in Vineland territory to set up Millville's second touchdown. Then, less than two minutes before halftime, he intercepted a pass and brought it back 35 yards for a score. He also had a big hit for a 6-yard loss while Vineland was driving deep in Millville territory in the third quarter.
Young, meanwhile, broke a single-season school record that had stood for nearly 40 years by kicking his 37th point-after-touchdown early in the second quarter. He tacked on five more, finishing the game with seven and the season with 42 to shatter the previous record of 36, set by Rick Kuhns in 1974.
Young also made a key tackle on a kickoff, and boomed another kickoff into the end zone for a touchback - a rarity in high school football.
"I was kind of nervous," said Young, a cousin of Ennis. "I'm not going to lie. I was kind of nervous. … I just put my head down, kicked the field goal, finally broke the record, and I'm excited for that. This was my last game with my boys."
The 5-foot-4 Young also plays baseball, and he did not go out for the football team the previous two years. But he was persuaded to play as a senior.
"Everybody likes him," Thunderbolts coach Jason Durham said. "He's a nice person, he works hard, he's consistent, and football players respect that."
Shockley and Young weren't the only seniors who ended their careers on a strong note. Quarterback Roberto Rivera ran for a 15-yard touchdown and had a bone-jarring sack from the safety position that jarred the ball loose, though the officials ruled it down. Defensive tackle Antoine White, who has committed to play for Penn State University next season, was a disruptive presence as usual. Anthony Stubbs gained 51 yards on just two carries, and Lawson Worthy ran for a 15-yard touchdown.
Ennis, a Division I college prospect, said it meant a lot to help the seniors end their careers on such a positive note.
"You want to go out with a bang, especially with the guys you've played with your entire life," Ennis said. "I know it meant a lot to them."
Meanwhile, Russo, the first-year Vineland coach, said he was proud of his players for staying positive throughout the game. The Fighting Clan scored their only touchdown on Benjamin Anderson's 12-yard run with 34.2 seconds left.
"It's a long season, and the kids stuck together," Russo said. "We have a lot of youth here, and they learned a lot from the seniors, who laid the foundation down for this rebuild."
Despite the lopsided score and temperatures in the 30s, the bleachers were packed.
Ennis described the game as "chippy." That's how it always is in one of the nation's oldest rivalries.
"This game is about the players, and them having a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime, and today they did that," Durham said. "They created their own memories."
Notes: Millville alumnus and Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout watched the game from the roof of the press box with his older brother, Tyler. Trout signed a game-used Millville baseball helmet that was raffled off for charity during the game. ... Shockley said he has scholarship offers from Monmouth and Bryant universities. He also is talking with Villanova, New Hampshire and several other NCAA Football Championship Subdivision schools, and plans to make official visits soon.
Vineland 0 0 0 8-8
Millville 13 28 7 7-55
M-Armstead 1 run (kick failed)
M-Ennis 6 run (Young kick)
M-Rivera 15 run (Young kick)
M-Ennis 4 run (Young kick)
M-Ennis 28 run (Young kick)
M-Shockley 35 interception return (Young kick)
M-Ennis 79 run (Young kick)
M-Worthy 15 run (Young kick)
V-Anderson 12 run (Rodriguez run)
TEAM STATISTICS V M
Rushing yards 90 330
Passing yards 20 33
First downs 9 10
Penalties-yards 5-35 7-65
Turnovers 2 0
Rushing-Vineland, Rodriguez 4-7, Anderson 14-45, Seymore 3-5, Cosby 11-27, White 2-(-2), Marrero 1-8. Millville, Ennis 13-170, Armstead 6-56, Rivera 6-23, Stubbs 2-51, Worthy 4-30.
Passing-Vineland, Rodriguez 7-20-105-1. Millville, Rivera 1-3-33-0.
Receiving-Vineland, Cosby 1-(-3), Avila-Polaha 2-18, White 1-27, Marrero 1-0, J. Atoki 1-54, C. Atoki 1-9. Millville, Woody 1-33.
Records-Vineland 2-8, Millville 8-3.