Millennium beats Delta Charter

Millennium High senior quarterback Shalin Ratna (left) evades a Delta Charter defender Friday night at Don Nicholson Stadium.

The Millennium Falcons executed an effective passing attack to secure their 46-6 win over Delta Charter High Friday at Kimball High

Millennium senior Shalin Ratna passed for 238 yards on 12 of 18 passes, including four touchdown passes, three of them to senior Carson Edwards.

“Coming into the game we knew that we had to work on our O-line, and I knew the O-line was going to be there for me,” Ratna said. “I put trust in my guys, my receivers put trust in me, and it was a great connection overall. Everything worked in a system. It all worked out.”

The win keeps the Falcons (4-4, 1-1 Central California Athletic Alliance) in the hunt for playoffs, with one more regular season game against Stone Ridge Christian to wrap up the regular season.

“This win is a huge motivator,” Ratna said. “We dropped below .500 the other day and we just got it back, so we’re going to use this momentum to carry us into next week against Stone Ridge.”

The Falcons scored on their first possession, with a five-play, 65-yard drive, including Ratna’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Edwards.

Millennium scored next on a 47-yard drive that included a 20-yard pass from Ratna to senior Kyle Fisher and Ratna’s 24-yard touchdown run, plus a 2-point conversion pass to Edwards. The Falcons’ next drive covered 43-yards in four plays, including a 29-yard pass from Ratna to Fisher and a 21-yard touchdown pass from Ratna to Edwards to make it a 20-0 game in Millennium’s favor.

The Dragons could not establish their offensive rhythm in the first quarter, but the Delta Charter defense created an opportunity in the second quarter when senior lineman Jailin Benton recovered a Millennium fumble on the Falcons’ 20-yard line. Two plays later Delta Charter sophomore quarterback Tyler Payton completed a 17-yard pass to senior Julian Gilbert to cut Millennium’s lead to 20-6 at the half.

The Dragons were kept out of the end zone for the rest of the game in spite of covering more offensive yards in the second half than in the first half. Payton finished the night with 64 yards on four of 14 passes and ran the ball four times for 27 yards. Gilbert ran the ball 10 times for 49 yards, and senior Roberto Morales ran the ball 16 times for 25 yards. Senior Tank Chartier also ran the ball, covering 23 yards on three carries.

“Spreading the ball around was working, getting a couple run plays going and then mixing it in with the pass plays,” Payton said. “That’s what was helping us get our yards, helping us move the ball.”

“We’ve been working every single day and getting better. That’s what’s giving us confidence, the progression throughout our games, seeing how much better we’re getting with each game and how hard we’re working.”

The Dragons got into the red zone on their first drive of the second half, which included a 32-yard pass from Payton to sophomore Xavior Jones, but the Falcon defense held them to the 19-yard line.

Millennium then charged down the field in three plays, including one where Ratna chased down the ball after a bad snap and passed to Fisher, who scrambled from the middle to the right side and broke a couple tackles for a 44-yard touchdown. Ratna passed to junior Ethan Dargin for the 2-point conversion to make it a 28-6 game.

Millennium scored next on an 8-yard pass from Ratna to Edwards, the third time the two connected for a touchdown Friday.

“I want to give credit our line,” Edwards said. “They really gave our quarterback Shalin Ratna a lot of time back there. He was standing in the pocket, aired it out and I was lucky to come down with a couple today.”

The Dragons came back with another extended drive into Millennium territory and got as far as the 25-yard line when they were pushed back by a penalty. Another turnover, this time an interception from Millennium sophomore Braden Bellini, set up another Millennium drive, including a 19-yard touchdown run for senior Nate Washington.

The Falcons scored once more late in the fourth quarter. On the first play after taking possession on a punt, Dargin ran along the right sideline for 50 yards to score and make it a 46-6 game.

Millennium coach Jamani Woods said he expected plenty of enthusiasm from his team for the matchup, the fourth time Millennium and Delta Charter have faced each other as CCAA rivals, which the Falcons winning each time.

“Play with execution, heart and have fun. That was the biggest thing I stressed all week,” Woods said. “Not a lot of kids get to play a crosstown rival, a crosstown game, and that made it special for senior night. Friday night lights. We just wanted to come out here and be energetic, be hyped up, and just do their job. Everything else would fall in place.”

He added that this year’s Falcons have started to click as a team. Their 392 offensive yards included 154 rushing yards in addition to Ratna’s 238 passing yards. Washington ran the ball 15 times for 97 yards and Ratna covered 53 yards on seven carries.

“All of the X’s and O’s are there. It’s all about meshing together,” Woods said. “The guys have really put in the extra effort over the past few weeks to make sure they overcome any obstacles, any adversity. We had a couple rough games over the past few weeks but the guys, they get out here every Monday, they get back to fighting, they get back to working and I think they deserved this one tonight.”

Even with the loss the Dragons (0-7, 0-2 CCAA) showed offensive production – including 64 passing yards for Payton and 124 total rushing yards.

“The positive thing we take away from it is we keep progressing. That’s the main thing,” Delta Charter coach John Griggs said. “We played a good team today, they fought hard. That’s why they won. I saw a lot of progress in our team moving forward. I’m happy with that.”

Also on Friday, Kimball defeated Manteca 58-41 in Manteca, Tracy beat Tokay 41-28 in Lodi, Mountain House beat visiting Ceres 21-20, and St. Mary’s defeated West 71-0 at West High.

Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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