LINWOOD - Rashon Sorrell and Rob Ennis each replaced a high-profile player who last year led the Millville High School team to one of the best records in school history.
So far this season, the two are creating their own memorable moments.
Ennis ran for two touchdowns and Sorrell ran for one score and threw for another as the Thunderbolts improved to 2-0 with a 35-7 win over Mainland Regional in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game Friday night. Millville scored four touchdowns in the second quarter.
"You could see our guys' confidence level rising," Millville coach Jason Durham said.
Sorrell, a senior, stepped in at quarterback this season for Shaq Lee, who graduated. Ennis, a sophomore, replaced Alquann Jones, who also graduated, at running back. Jones was The Press Player of the Year last season.
Lee and Jones sparked Millville to an 11-1 record and a South Jersey final appearance last season. Neither Sorrell nor Ennis had started at their respective positions before this season. Sorrell played wide receiver last season.
"It's been fun," Sorrell said. "I just have faith in my team."
Millville's speed at the skill positions gave it a major advantage over Mainland. Millville's offensive huddle can get a bit loud sometimes.
"It's competitive," Sorrell said. "Everyone wants the ball. I just pat them (on the back) and tell them good job."
The Thunderbolts feature a handful of players who are capable of scoring no matter where they get their hands on the ball.
"We have a lot of athletes," Ennis said. "We have a lot of guys who do different things. Guys with different skill sets."
Ennis has an uncanny ability to side step tacklers at the line of scrimmage and then sprint into the secondary. He rushed for 188 yards on 27 carries. Sorrell completed 12-of-18 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for score. Wide receiver DeQuan Bowman ran for a touchdown and caught five passes for 74 yards.
Fans filled the bleachers at Mainland (1-1) for the Mustangs' home opener. Representatives of the Under Armour sports clothing company were on hand filming the game and the crowd for a commercial. Mainland won an Under Armour school spirit contest last January that will give the school $180,000 in athletic apparel over the next two years.
Millville took control with two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half. Sorrell ran up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown to give the Thunderbolts a 21-0 lead with 1 minute, 49 seconds left in the first half.
Millville got the ball back at their own 20-yard line after stopping Mainland on downs.
Ennis then became a one-man hurry-up offense. He carried three times for 44 yards to move the ball into Mainland territory. Sorrell threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Alskee Downing with 4.4 seconds left to put Millville up 28-0.
"Sorrell has started to mature back there," Durham, said. "It's a long season ahead, but he's taken some nice steps and (Friday) was another big one."
The Millville defense played just as well as the offense. Roberto Rivera intercepted two passes, while Downing picked off one. Keyvon Rivera had a sack.
Although it's early in the season, the Thunderbolts' two wins put them in contention for a playoff spot and the conference title.
Ennis has rushed for 318 yards and three touchdowns this season, while Sorrell has completed 64 percent of his passes (18-for-28) for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
Friday's win sets up another big game for the Thunderbolts. Millville hosts St. Joseph, which is ranked No. 1 in The Press Elite 11, next Friday.
"We're looking forward to the challenge of St. Joe," Durham said. "We're excited to play them, especially being 2-0."
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