Sometime this season, Milford Mill coach Reggie Brooks will know what his team is made of.
He'll know the depth of the Millers' character and whether they have regained the playoff form of two years ago.
With All-Metro senior quarterback Richard Johnson among their many weapons, the Millers have to like their chances. And a few more games like yesterday's won't hurt, either.
Johnson showed impressive moves in throwing and rushing for touchdowns and junior Jason Price ran for 194 yards and a touchdown as third-ranked Milford Mill drubbed Dundalk, 36-0, in a 3A-4A Baltimore County league game at Dundalk.
"We didn't have an exceptionally good week of practice, so I told the guys we needed to go out there and just take care of business," Brooks said.
The Millers (4-0, 3-0 league) had the look of a serious contender yesterday, with the most telling sign coming from the defense, which produced its first shutout and held one of the county's better rushing teams to 170 yards. It was a satisfying effort for a group that is often overlooked because of the Millers' big-play offense.
"We know we have a good offense so it was time for the defense to step up," said Milford Mill outside linebacker Muhammad Howard, who was moved to middle linebacker for this game. "We knew what was coming from them because they have a lot of big running backs, so we were focused on stopping the run."
Dundalk never moved inside the Millers' 20 and converted just one of 10 third downs.
Facing their biggest defensive challenge thus far, the 12th-ranked Owls (3-1, 2-1) knew they had to avoid giving up big plays. But the Millers twice struck quickly in the last 3: 57 of the first half to take a commanding 20-0 lead at halftime.
Johnson had a hand in both scores. He weaved his way to a 38-yard touchdown run that pushed Milford Mill's lead to 14-0, then connected with Brandon Thompson on a 38-yard touchdown pass.
"Those two plays were a big back-breaker," said Dundalk coach Eric Webber.
Milford Mill made it look easy in the second half. Price continued to pile up yardage running behind Pierre Pope and Bryant Jones, with four carries going for 20 yards or more, and Johnson set up the Millers' last two scores -- a 4-yard run by Derron Hankins and a 2-yard run by Price -- with a 31-yard run and a pass to Renard Stancil.
"It felt good to be a part of an offense that has so many talented players," Price said.
Said Webber: "I can't fault our effort. We just played against the best football player [Johnson] I've ever seen."
No. 4 Hereford 42, Franklin 14: The Bulls (4-0) scored on their first four possessions, including their first two plays from scrimmage, to roll over the visiting Indians (1-3).
Matt Curtis and Steve Kelley had two touchdowns apiece for Hereford, and C. J. Feldheim had a 38-yard touchdown run and added five quarterback sacks.
No. 9 McDonogh 24, Loyola 21: Joe Benson's 27-yard field goal with five seconds left propelled the Eagles (4-0) over the host Dons (2-2). Benson's field goal was set up after McDonogh recovered a fumble at its 45, and Wald Hajj and Taylor Callahan had receptions of 25 and 30 yards, respectively.
No. 13 Eastern Tech, Patapsco 12: All-Metro Steve Lawston returned kickoffs 82 and 90 yards for scores and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from second-team All-City/County quarterback Scott Pearce as the Mavericks (3-1, 2-1) overcame a 6-0 deficit against their Baltimore County 3A-4A League rivals.