Showing typical poise, No. 14 Milford Mill rebounded from a lackluster first half to score three touchdowns and outlast visiting Catonsville, 30-27, on Saturday.
The Millers trailed, 24-6, at halftime, but they took over after the break, thanks in part to the big-play ability of senior quarterback Kyle McEachern.
McEachern threw for a touchdown and ran for another in the fourth quarter, including the winning score with 1:35 remaining. Those plays atoned for a poor showing earlier in the game when he lost a fumble inside the Comets’ 10-yard line and had an interception returned for a touchdown.
McEachern scored the winning touchdown from 1-yard out on his fifth straight carry to lift Millford Mill (6-1) to the win. He finished with three touchdowns — two rushing, one passing — and 96 yards on 13 carries while completing 11 of 15 passes for 136 yards.
Millford Mill coach Reggie White won’t soon forget McEachern’s performance and his team’s comeback, calling it one of the best in his 10 years as coach.
“We were down, 21-0, to Franklin a few years ago and we came back to beat them,” White said. “I think it was during our homecoming. That was huge. But this was definitely as good.”
The Comets (5-3) pounded the host Millers with a relentless ground game in the first half, rushing for 152 yards.
Catonsville got on the scoreboard early. The Comets moved 48 yards in 10 plays, all runs. Quarterback Justin Sprankle scored on a 5-yard run around the right side.
Catonsville got the ball right back on Garrett Wack’s pooch kick that was recovered by Calloway Lee. Nine plays later, DeAndre’ Lane went three yards up the middle to push the lead to 13-0.
The Comets increased their lead to 20-0 in the middle of the second quarter when linebacker Joseth Hylton (also rushed for 129 yards) returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown.
Milford Mill closed to 21-6 late in the second quarter on McEachern’s 7-yard run.
The Comets’ defense stepped up again late in the third quarter when the Millers threatened to score as they recovered McEachern’s fumble at the 3-yard line.
Catonsville, however, got backed up deep in its own territory and punter Teddy Crayton ended up taking a safety as Millford cut the margin to 24-8.
On the next play, Raymond Adams returned the free kick 65 yards for a touchdown.
"That was a 10-point swing right there," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said of the safety and touchdown. "I thought we had done a pretty good job of covering kicks all day. It was a great return. You have to give them credit for that."
McEachern found the Millers’ Rashawd Thompson in the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
Milford Mill capitalized on a shanked punt from the Comets that went minus-6 yards. Five plays later, the Millers trimmed the lead to 24-22 with 9:07 remaining in the final quarter.
McEachern, scrambling to his left under heavy pressure, found Reggie White Jr. in the left corner of the end zone. McEachern ran in the 2-point conversion to tie it at 24.
Catonsville went ahead, 27-24, on Wack’s 22-yard field goal with 3:29 left before the Millers and McEachern answered with the winning score.
"They started thowing the ball a little more and did a nice job of moving down the field," Hambor said. "We had a couple of opportunities to score six and we had to get three. That was really the difference there."
No. 14 Milford Mill 30, Catonsville 27
C 14 10 0 3
MM 0 6 10 14
C- Sprankle 5 run (Wack kick)
C-Lane 2 run (Wack kick)
C- Hylton 36 return (Wack kick)
MM- McEachern 7 run (kick failed)
C-Wack kick 35
MM-Adams 65 return (Thompson conversion)
MM-White 5 from McEachern (McEachern conversion)
C-Wack kick 22
MM-McEachern 1 run