By Chad Saleska
RALEIGH — Millbrook quarterback Brian Kass passed for 158 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 63 yards and fourth TD as Millbrook knocked off Northern Durham 55-14 on Friday night.
“He is just phenomenal,” Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore said. “We put a lot of responsibility on our quarterback in our system, and he just did a great job.
“He always does.”
After completing his first two passes and moving the Knights steadily down the field, Northern senior quarterback Andrew Peacock was picked off by Millbrook’s Malik Fair, who returned the mistake 62 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
When Kass finally got his hands on the ball, he engineered a seven-play, 53-yard drive and plunged in from a yard out to make the score 14-0 with 2:35 left in the first quarter.
“They jumped on us early and often, and we didn’t respond,” said Northern coach Anthony Sullivan, a former Millbrook assistant.
“There is a reason that they are the No. 4 team in the state [in the Associated Press rankings].
Millbrook’s defense struck again on the last play of the first quarter when junior defensive end Marcus Plummer picked up a fumble after a bobbled snap and strolled 10 yards for an easy touchdown.
In addition to putting points on the board, the Millbrook defense held Northern in check, allowing 159 yards, sacking Peacock three times and forcing four punts in the first half.
Jarrick Feaster also picked off a Peacock pass for the Wildcats’ third takeaway of the half.
“The defense has played really well to this point,” Inscore said. “They have been underappreciated a little bit, but you have to earn respect, and I think they went a long way in doing that.”
“They are very good up front, and they play very well together,” Sullivan said, referring to the Wildcats’ defense.
Kass continued the onslaught, finding Michael Thornton midway through the second quarter on a nicely executed fade pattern for a 10-yard touchdown play and a 28-0 lead.
The duo teamed again for a 27-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the half.
By the time the half wound down, the Wildcats had everything working. They executed a double pass from Kass to Thornton to Nick Murad (three catches, 142 yards), who took the ball to the Northern 1.
Kuwon Eldridge scored untouched on the next play.
Millbrook’s momentum continued into the second half with Eldridge scoring on an 11-yard run, capping an eight-play, 65-yard drive on the Wildcats’ first possession.
Kass threw his third touchdown pass of the game on the Wildcats’ next drive. He fired a 62-yard strike to Murad on a second-and-32 to make the score 55-7 as the third period ended.
Rushes-yards 34-138 31-165
Comp-Att-yards 14-25-198 10-16-223
NDR 0 0 7 7 — 14
MBK 21 21 13 0 — 55
MBK—M.Fair 62 interception return (D.Brown kick); MBK—B.Kass 1 run (D.Brown kick); MBK—M.Plummer 10 fumble return (D.Brown kick); MBK—M.Thornton 10 pass from B.Kass (D.Brown kick); MBK—K.Eldridge 1 run (D.Brown kick); MBK—M.Thornton 27 pass from B.Kass (D.Brown kick); MBK—K.Eldridge 11 run (D.Brown kick); NDR—Q.Bagley 56 pass from A.Peacock (P.Hoover kick); MBK—N.Murad 62 pass from B.Kass (D.Brown kick failed); NDR—C.Edwards 16 pass from A.Henry (P.Hoover kick)
Rushing: NDR—A.Henry 2-6, J.Holman 5-67, A.Peacock 21-78; MBK—K.Eldridge 10-72, S.Gray 3-32, B.Kass 10-72.
Passing: NDR—A.Henry 3-3-58-0, A.Peacock 11-22-140-2; MBK—S.Gray 1-1-65-0, B.Kass 9-15-158-0.
Receiving: NDR—Q.Bagley 3-69, C.Edwards 5-73, P.Hoover 1-28; MBK—K.Eldridge 2-26, N.Murad 3-142, M.Thornton 3-47.