Maryland 3A State Championship Match-Up
#1 Milford Mill Academy (12-1) vs #2 Linganore (11-2) November 30th 7 pm at Navy
Far from the 1987 undefeated Milford Mill championship team, the 2017 Millers’ squad is creating their own history on the way to the state championship game Thursday. The 3A North champions are just 1 win away from ending the school’s 30 year state title drought. Coach Reggie White’s kids seem to be peaking at the right time. Millers are averaging over 37 points per game during the playoffs. While the defenses held opponents to roughly an average of 11 points in three games.
Milford opened the season with an ugly home loss 38-14 to Tuscarora. Since the setback, the Millers are on a 12 game winning streak behind the leadership of Mt St Joe transfer and 1st year quarterback Brandon Savage. Linganore will have to pick their poison against a Baltimore County team who are a threat in all three phases of the game. Milford’s offense gives you a good mix of running and passing. University of Virginia commit Ugo Obasi leads a talented receiving core which included junior Jawan Rabb, and freshman Rishon Holmes. The Millers receivers skill set includes the ability to catch in traffic and blow by defensive backs for the long pass. The running game is a combination of speed and power. Troy Scott Jr and Desmond Shell has the ability to compile yards in chunks. Sophomore Jordan Morant brings the physical side of the Millers rushing game punishing opponents between the tackles.
Defensively, Milford’s line is quick and physical with the ability to place a lot pressure on the quarterback. The defensive-backs trio of Savage, Obasi, and Shell can cover a lot ground do to their exceptional speed. In addition, they all have the ability to turn a passing error by opposing quarterbacks to six points. Morant and Scott Jr are key names regarding a gritty linebacker crew. Most teams struggled to move the ball effectively up the middle because of their physicality and athleticism.
Pick your poison on special teams. Milford uses a pair of home run hitters in Shell and Obasi on kick/punt return. Because for their previous returns, Long Reach spent most of the game kicking away from the special teams threat.
As for the Linganore, the Lancers seem to find their stride after losing back to back games against Walkersville and Oakdale earlier in the season. Coach Rick Conner’s team ran off an impressive 8 game winning streak to win the 3A West region and punch a ticket to the state championship. It was truly a team effort for the senior ladened Lancers. Linganore has been hit with injury bug having several key players miss roughly 15 games combined. Needless to say the Frederick County team is healing at the right time. Lead by explosive running backs Zamarre Snowden and Davon Butler, the Lancers’ offense is averaging over 27 points in the playoffs. 6-4 200lbs Junior quarterback Ryan Leyh has the ability to carve defenses up for a good balance of passing and running.
Defensively, Linganore has size and physicality on their side. The Lancers are led by linebackers Jackson Ambush and Joe Kolick. The defense is a well coached and are fundamentally sound unit. The Lancers are arguably the toughest defense Milford will face all season.
So who’s going to win? One factor you can’t ignore is there’s two opponents both finalists played this season, Tuscarora and Edgewood. As mentioned previously the Millers were dominated by Tuscarora but Linganore beat the Titans by 14. Respectfully, I think you have to throw this comparison out the window. It was the first game of the season for the Millers newly acquired quarterback, Brandon Savage, who never played the position on the high school level. As for Edgewood, both teams beat the rams convincingly. If we had to pick sole based on talent, I think the Millers have the slight edge. If we had to pick on experience and tougher schedule Linganore gets the nod. Normally around this time of year the weather is factor, but Thursday is expected to reach a high of 50 degrees and a low of 41 degrees. Thus cold weather shouldn’t be an issue. Crowd noise could play small factor in the 3A championship game. Linganore probably will bring a large group of fans to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. We’ll have to wait and see if the Millers’ faithful will make the trip.
This game is a tough call. Admittingly I talked to several high school coaches and checked the pulse of a local high school football forum. The overwhelming majority crowned Linganore as the 2017 3A champions. Everybody except SportsMajors! We like the Millers in this contest. Its one of those magical seasons for Coach White’s kids. We believe Milford will narrowly escape Annapolis with their second state football title in 30 years 24-20 Final.