In the middle of the play, Shamore Collins told himself, “You know what? My team needs this.”
Early in the fourth quarter, on a screen pass, Collins ran about 10 yards directly to his left toward the sideline — he had some room to run, but not enough to his liking.
So, he completely reversed field, running another 15 or so yards directly toward the other sideline before turning up the field and escaping for a 31-yard touchdown.
The only thing more eye-popping in the game to that point were his quarterback's gaudy passing numbers. Nathan Robbins — a first-year sophomore starter behind center — deserved a spotlight, to be sure. But Collins’ touchdown underscored a more critical fact: This was a team effort.
The Millville offense is dangerous. And it was on.
“We have a lot of playmakers on this team,” said Robbins after leading his team to a 32-24 win over host Clearview in Friday night’s South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinal matchup.
Robbins finished 21-of-24 passing for 167 yards. He was a perfect 9-of-9 in the second half.
“There were a little bit of butterflies in my stomach, but after the first drive, I felt good,” Robbins said. “We watched a lot of film, saw what their defense could do and executed.”
The fifth-seeded Thunderbolts advance to a semifinal's meeting next week at top-seeded Shawnee. The Renegades beat Millville in the last year’s semifinal.
“They beat us by two last year and we didn’t forget that — we think about that everyday,” Collins said. “We’re coming back for them.”
Collins finished with three touchdowns including both of his team’s scores in the second half when Millville managed to regain control after allowing Clearview to score 17 unanswered points.
Clearview (7-3) took its first and only lead on a 23-yard field goal by Hunter Logan with 4:47 left in the third quarter.
But Millville (5-4) took back mometium on its next drive. Robbins marched his team down the field, completing five passes in a 6-yard drive that was capped with an eight-yard score by Collins.
On Millville’s next drive, the Thunderbolts crystalized just how much more athletic they are than Clearview. After Collins' massive cut-back touchdown, penalties set the extra point attempt back to the 22-yard line. Robbins, seemingly with ease, lofted the ball down field, over a defender and into the waiting arms of Pitt recruit Solomon DeShields.
DeShields, a senior, also caught had an acrobatic 48-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
“Fifty-fifty balls — with him, it’s more like 100-0,” Robbins said.
The game spoiled a stellar performance by Clearview’s Mike Ancona. The do-everything quarterback-running back kept his team in the game and — from multiple positions — rushed 23 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw for a 32-yard touchdown pass and intercepted a ball in the first half.
“He’s a heck of a player. … My hat goes off to him,” said Millville coach Dennis Thomas.
But on his own team’s performance, he added: “We just prepared really well.”
Millville 8 8 8 8 — 32
Clearview 0 14 3 7 — 24
M: Solomon DeShields 48 pass from Nathan Robbins (Shamore Collins run)
M: Collins 3 run (Robbins pass from Lequint Allen)
C: Mike Ancona 12 run (Hunter Logan kick)
C: Rashann Tompkins 32 pass from Ancona (Hunter Logan kick)
C: Logan 23 field goal
M: Collins 8 run (Allen pass from Robbins)
M: Collins 31 pass from Robbins (DeShields pass from Robbins)