Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (2022)

LONG BEACH — The final game of a three-game suspension for junior wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Pellum proved to be a costly one Thursday for the Millikan football team.

Cathedral junior wide receiver Xavier Jordan took full advantage of the opportunity.

Jordan caught four touchdowns and the Phantoms held on for a 39-38 victory over the Rams in a back-and-forth shootout at DeHaven Stadium.

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (1)

    Cathedral’s Ramahj Jones (20) almost gets the ball stripped by two Millikan defenders during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (2)

    Millikan’s Angelo Miranda (8) drags two Cathedral players into the endzone with a touchdown during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (3)

    Millikan’s Nygel Osborne (28) drags defenders for extra yardage during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (4)

    Millikan’s Angelo Miranda (8) signals touchdown during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (5)

    Millikan’s Myles Jackson (9) looks for a receiver during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (6)

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    Millikan’s Matthew Martinez (17) heads for a touchdown during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (7)

    Millikan’s Jaden Hunt (13) turns the corner on Cathedral’s defense during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (8)

    Millikan’s Matthew Martinez (17) loses a Cathedral defender during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (9)

    Millikan’s Riley Tuggle (3) upends Cathedral’s Aidan Moss (12) during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (10)

    Cathedral’s Ramahj Jones (20) gets upended by Millikan’s Riley Tuggle (3) during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (11)

    Cathedral’s Aidan Moss (12) about to throw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan (11) during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (12)

    Millikan’s defenders break up a pass intended for Cathedral’s Ross Nickson (4) during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (13)

    Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan (11) goes into end zone with a 61-yard touchdown during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (14)

    Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan (11) goes into end zone with a 61-yard touchdown during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (15)

    Cathedral’s Dominic Johnson (9) sacks Millikan’s Myles Jackson (9)during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (16)

    Cathedral’s Ashton T. Sanders (1) consoles his teammate who just dropped a possible interception during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (17)

    Millikan’s Myles Jackson (9) scrambles during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (18)

    Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan (11) gets pulled down by his jersey by Millikan’s Jordan Anderson (0) during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (19)

    Cathedral’s Andre Roner (13) gets surrounded by Millikan defenders during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (20)

    Cathedral’s Aidan Moss (12) extends the play looking for a receiver during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (21)

    Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan (11) goes into the end zone during a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (22)

    Millikan’s marching band takes the field before a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (23)

    Millikan’s cheer squad performs before a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (24)

    Cathedral’s Ross Nickson (4) listens to the National Anthem before a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (25)

    A Millikan cheerleader shows some personal expression before a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (26)

    Millikan’s team takes the field before a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

  • Millikan football loses thrilling home opener to Cathedral on late touchdown (27)

    A Millikan student deflates the Ram’s hard used to introduce the team before a non-league football game between Millikan High and Cathedral High at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA on Thursday August 25, 2022. (Photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

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The teams traded the lead six times in the second half.

Millikan coach Romeo Pellum, the older brother of Ryan, said the absence was a “game changer” but added that his team should still have overcome it.

“(Ryan) is irreplaceable but we could’ve won that game without Ryan,” Romeo Pellum said. “Ryan didn’t determine us losing that game.”

Pellum’s suspension stemmed from an ejection at the end of last season in the final game of the regular season against Wilson and he is expected to return next Friday, Sept. 2 at home against St. Francis.

The difference was Cathedral senior wide receiver Ross Nickson’s game-winning, 6-yard catch with 4:13 to play.

Cathedral (2-0) was aided by a fair catch interference call on the kickoff return to start the drive at the 45-yard line.

“Discipline, discipline, discipline,” Pellum said of the mistakes.

Jordan then hauled in a 42-yard catch, his 11th reception of the night. After a penalty, Phantoms senior quarterback Aidan Moss found Nickson for the go-ahead score.

Jordan, a three-star recruit with DI offers from Arizona, Colorado State, Hawaii and Washington State, finished with 214 yards receiving.

“That’s a really good team over there. Unfortunately, only one team could win tonight,” Cathedral coach Anthony Jefferson said.

“I think Xavier might be one of the best receivers in the area. We would line him up against anybody and today he proved he’s pretty good.”

Millikan (1-1) started with great field position on their final drive, but junior quarterback Myles Jackson failed to complete a pass on the first three plays. On fourth-and-10 with 3:44 remaining, Jackson then scrambled in a circle before he was brought down for a sack to turn the ball over on downs.

Cathedral ran the clock out to end the game.

Jackson completed 18 of 31 passes for 298 yards to go with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

“We’ve just got to do better,” Pellum said. “Players have to do better, coaches have to do better, I have to do better.”

The Phantoms trailed 32-27 entering the final quarter, but Jackson threw his second interception midway through the fourth quarter. Jordan’s fourth touchdown grab put Cathedral ahead 33-32 with 7:11 left and started the wild finish.

The Rams raced out to an 11-0 lead, but Cathedral shook off a slow start plagued by poor, high snaps and turned the momentum midway through the second quarter.

Jordan hauled in a 39-yard grab, the first of two touchdown catches in the first half, to get the Phantoms on the board at the 7:40 mark.

Cathedral safety Messiah Washington promptly intercepted Jackson on the next Millikan drive and Cathedral capitalized quickly. Moss found Jordan for a 54-yard score to pull in front, 14-11, with 5:22 left in the half.

Millikan senior running back Nygel Osborne ran for 107 yards on seven touches in the half, and his 8-yard touchdown catch briefly put the Rams back in front.

However, the Phantoms marched 77 yards over the final 1:22, capped by Ramahj Jones’ 3-yard run, to go into halftime leading 20-18.

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On the drive, Moss scrambled for 46 yards on three runs to put Cathedral in scoring position.

“Aidan played a great game,” Jefferson said. “That’s the senior leadership we need on our team.”

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