WILLIAMSTOWN - Millville High School's football team was billed as the most dangerous No. 8 seed in the South Jersey playoffs.
The Thunderbolts ran into a Williamstown team that was too powerful Friday, however.
Millville (5-4) fell behind top-seeded Williamstown early and couldn't mount a comeback. The Braves (9-0) thrilled their boisterous home crowd with a 41-6 victory in the first round of the inaugural Group V playoffs.
"They played a great game," Millville coach Jason Durham said. "They really took it to us. Williamstown deserves a lot of credit. They dominated all four quarters."
Williamstown, ranked No. 2 in The Press Elite 11, will host Atlantic City in the semifinals in two weeks. Millville will end its season with its traditional Thanksgiving morning showdown with Vineland.
Millville was considered a threat to upset the Braves because of an offense loaded with talented playmakers such as quarterback Rashon Sorrell, running back Rob Ennis and wide receiver DeQuan Bowman. But aside from Sorrell's 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Allen in the second quarter, the Thunderbolts' offense was largely held in check.
Meanwhile, Williamstown's multi-faceted running attack was virtually unstoppable. The Braves ran through and around Millville's defense for 332 yards, despite strong games by Millville linebacker Ed Shockley and defensive end Antoine White.
Braves junior running back Marquis Little led the way with 129 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Junior John Chamberlin relied on his power and deceptive speed to rush for 119 yards and three TDs on 19 attempts. Senior running back Kali Boyce added 63 yards on five carries.
Their performances were among the reasons Williams-town was able to avoid the disappointment of another playoff loss. The Braves traditionally have struggled in the postseason. They entered the game with a 1-9 record in the South Jersey playoffs.
"This gives us a lot of confidence because Millville is a great team," Chamberlin said. "All of the (Cape-Atlantic League) teams are good, so we know we have our work cut out for us the rest of the way. But this win means a lot to us. We finally got the monkey off our back."
Williamstown scored on four of its first five possessions to grab a 28-0 lead.
Boyce tore off a 35-yard punt return early in the game that led to quarterback Doug Banks' 2-yard run. Chamberlin added two TDs in the second quarter and Little scampered into the end zone from 12 yards out.
Just when it appeared to be a blowout, Millville scored when Allen made a terrific fingertip grab and outraced Williamstown's secondary for Millville's only TD just before halftime. The Thunderbolts had a chance to make the game closer early in the second half when they drove to Williamstown's 3-yard line, but they turned the ball over on downs.
Williamstown answered with a 94-yard drive that ended with Little twisting, turning and fighting his way across the goal line for a 20-yard TD that put Williamstown ahead 34-6.
"Not scoring there when we had the chance really hurt us," Allen said. "If we had scored, we could have swung the momentum back in our favor and maybe taken charge."
Contact David Weinberg:
Millville 0 6 0 0-6
Williamstown 6 22 6 7-41
W-Banks 4 run. (Kick failed)
W-Chamberlin 12 run. (Boyce pass from Banks)
W-Little 12 run. (Peacock kick)
W-Chamberlin 10 run. (Peacock kick)
M-Allen 44 pass from Sorrell (kick failed)
W-Little 20 run. (Kick failed)
W-Chamberlin 13 run. (Peacock kick)
TEAM STATISTICS M W
First downs 9 19
Rushing yards 88 332
Passing yards 124 71
Turnovers 2 1
Rushing-Millville, Ennis 10-57, Worthy 3-31, Rivera 1-9, Harris 1-2, McShaun 1-2. Williamstown, Little 9-129, Chamberlin 19-110, Bowman 5-63, Coney 2-28, Glenn 1-2, Banks 5-2, Early 1-(-1), Watson 1-(-1).
Passing-Millville, Sorrell 5-14-108, Rivera 1-2-16. Williamstown, Banks 6-10-71.
Receiving-Millville, Allen 1-44, Bowman 2-27, Tull 1-20, Hoover 1-14, Ennis 1-13. Williamstown, Chamberlin 2-35, Bowman 2-15, Moore 1-11, Coney 1-10.
Records-Millville 5-4; Williamstown 9-0.