When Sean Williams and Deshawn Purdie transferred to Milford Mill during the offseason, they wanted to help the Millers end their decades-long state title drought.
Friday night, the duo again put Milford Mill on their backs and the championship finish line is within sight. Purdie’s seven-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the third-ranked and undefeated Millers to a 40-33 victory over Worcester County’s Stephen Decatur in a Class 2A state semifinal thriller in Baltimore County.
Milford Mill (13-0 overall), which last won a state title in 1987 (Class 1A) will get a third opportunity since 2017 to win the program’s second championship. The Millers will play Kent Island, Friday at 4 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, for the 2A crown.
Milford Mill trailed 33-32 late in regulation when Purdie faked a handoff to Williams, rolled out free and ran to the corner of the end zone for the lead score. Williams followed with the two-point conversion.
Purdie, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Mount St. Joseph who has an early scholarship offer from University of Maryland struggled throwing Friday against Stephen Decatur, but made up for it with a clutch run, capping a second straight come-from-behind effort.
“They were biting on him (Williams) all night,” said Purdie, a junior. “Coach gave me the opportunity, and I took advantage of it,”
Williams, also a transfer from Mount St. Joseph, scored two of his four touchdown in the final quarter as Milford Mill overcame a 25-19 deficit. Last week, Williams had two second half scoring runs as Milford Mill rallied for a 20-7 victory over Frederick County’s Walkersville in a state quarterfinal.
“I just saw wide open gaps. Offensive line played great. Without them, none of this happens,” said Williams. “Our left tackle, Rashard Herring – he’s just a great blocker. I know I can trust him. He’s always going to have that hole open.”
Milford Mill’s defense, taxed for most of evening, came up with the play that may have kept their season. Stephen Decatur, holding the touchdown lead, was at midfield and driving.
Decatur quarterback Brycen Coleman attempted a pass in the left flat to wide receiver Gavin Solito. Milford Mill junior defensive end Dashawn Fields got a hand on the pass, tipping it high in the air.
The ball floated towards Solito when Fields looked up then snatched the ball right out of Solito’s hands for an interception. A few plays later, Williams was in the end zone from 12 yards, and Milford Mill had the lead at 26-25.
After another Miller defensive stop, Williams sprinted 40 yards to the end zone for his fourth down, extending Milford Mill’s lead to 32-25.
But Stephen Decatur, which routed Potomac in Prince George’s County in last Friday’s state quarterfinal, responded. Luke Mergot’s 1-yard touchdown, followed by Nathan Tapley’s two-point conversion to Brycen Coleman, put the Eastern Shore school back up, 33-32.
“They’re a very good team. My hat goes off to their coaching staff,” said White. “They have weapons all over.”
So does Milford Mill, which scored a season-low 20 points but was able to overcome Williamsport. Friday, Williams had scoring runs of two and 33 yards in the opening half.
“Our blocking scheme worked. O-line played great,” said Milford Mill coach Reggie White. “Give the ball to number four (Williams). He’s good, he played well.”
CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINAL
NO. 3 MILFORD MILL 40, STEPHEN DECATUR 33
Stephen Decatur 7 7 9 10 - 33
Milford Mill 7 6 6 21 - 40
Stephen Decatur - Gavin Solito 5 pass from Brycen Coleman 5yd pass to Solito (Eastlack run
Milford Mill - Sean Williams 2 run (Eric Garcia kick)
Stephen Decatur - Luke Mergott 33 pass from Coleman (Brogan Eastlack kick)
Milford Mill - Williams 33 run (kick failed)
Milford Mill - Daysen Shell 45 pass from Dashawn Purdie (kick failed)
Stephen Decatur - Eastlack 32 field goal
Stephen Decatur - Mergot 1 run (Eastlack kick)
Stephen Decatur - Safety (Milford Mill punt snap out of end zone)
Milford Mill - Williams 12 run (Garcia kick)
Milford Mill - Williams 45 run (kick failed)
Stephen Decatur - Mergot 1 run (Coleman pass from Nate Tapley)
Milford Mill - Purdie 7 run (Williams run)