MILLINGTON – Millington’s current streak of consecutive playoff appearances began on October 30, 2004, in a 35-0 beatdown of that team 14 miles west of our village limits. Seventeen years to the day later the streak continues as the Cardinals welcome former Tri-Valley Conference mate the Lakeville Falcons in their first-ever playoff experience.
Millington’s win in 2004 came after a Week 5 loss at the hands of Frankenmuth by a score of 35-14 snapping a three-game winning streak over the Eagles. Head Coach Roger Bearss and Frankenmuth made the trek to Millington on the day before Halloween looking for a clean sweep of 2004 and trying to start a winning streak of their own.
Millington’s rush game and defense would not let Frankenmuth win for the second time that year. The Cardinals ran for 301 yards, behind Nate Daniels’ three rushing touchdowns and 239 yards on 35 carries. Brett Horwath and Travis Opperman each scored a touchdown as Mike Aguirre added three extra points to power Millington’s offense to a running clock midway through the third quarter.
As dominant as Millington’s offense was that day, the defense was just as dominant. The Cardinals “D” not only threw a shutout on the Frankenmuth offense but held the Eagles to just 70 yards of offense on 34 offensive plays.
Millington would defeat Cass City the following week at the Millington Cardinals Sports Complex for their second district championship. The first district came during the 1999 season.
After high school, Opperman went on to serve our country in the United States Army. He earned a Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Tragically he passed away in 2019 after a battle with cancer.
In the years since 2004, Millington has played in 36 post-season games winning 20. The Cardinals have six district titles (2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2017) and three regional titles (2009, 2010, and 2016) in that time span. Millington has played in 56 postseason games since its first appearance in 1991. The Cardinals are 21-8 when hosting a playoff game as they prepare for Lakeville tomorrow night.
Millington alumnus and former Cardinal junior varsity coach Ryan Love will lead the Falcons into
Millington tomorrow as the new head coach of Lakeville. The Falcons come into tomorrow’s game with one win and five losses. They have shown very good progress in Love’s first year at the helm. Not only have they won their first game since Week 9 of the 2017 season, but their defense is vastly improved, only allowing 32.5 points per game down from 50.6 per game over the previous two seasons.
Love recently told the Tuscola County Advertiser, “I feel fortunate to have coached in my hometown,” he said. “The one thing Lakeville is able to do for me is, I’m able to go out and carve my own path and make it something, wherein Millington it was (already) made. It was made before I even played there. I’m so happy and proud of that tradition at Millington. I’m also very excited to be a part of the foundation at Lakeville and start my own history.”
Lakeville is led offensively by senior Codie Pyles. The 5-10 155 pound wide receiver has nearly 500 all-purpose yards and has an average of over eight yards per rush and 19 yards per reception. Millington
counters with senior wide receiver Brendyn Callahan who has over 460 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns and averages nearly 10 yards per touch.
Senior Paul Murray leads Lakeville’s ground game. He has gained over 300 yards and averages over 6.2 yards per rushing attempt. The 5-9 164 pound Murray is coming off his best game of the year in Lakeville’s win over Lutheran Northwest. He ran for 143 yards on 13 carries. The Cardinals counter with tailback Leyton Mays. The junior has run for 440 yards and five touchdowns on 89 rushing attempts during the regular season.
The Cardinals have been dominant versus Lakeville winning all 12 games they have played. Millington has won by an average of almost 42 points per game, and an average of almost 50 points per game in games played at Millington.
The closest game in the series came in 1997 in the second game of the modern series. Millington defeated Lakeville 14-8 on an Eric Heuchert fourth-quarter touchdown. Heuchert finished the game with 61 yards rushing. The last time “Lakeville” defeated Millington they were known as Otisville High School. The Spartans beat Millington during the first year of the Eisenhower administration by the score of 12-6. The two schools played 15 times between the years of 1933-1953 with Millington winning seven of the games.
Even though Friday’s playoff game will be played with limited attendance, fans are still able to watch. In conjunction with the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), Friday’s game and all other Millington events on the football field or in the gymnasium will be live-streamed on the NFHS Network’s website. This is a subscription-based service. Subscriptions can be purchased on an annual basis or a monthly basis through the NFHS Network when you click on the subscribe button. The live stream can be viewed from any computer browser, apps for both Apple and Android devices, or on Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV. Each subscription will allow the user to not only view Millington events that are live-streamed but other high school events as well. A portion of each subscription is donated back to Millington Athletics. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
History of Game Scores – Millington vs Lakeville/Otisville
|Millington vs Lakeville|
|Millington vs Otisville|