Homecoming Victory for Big Blue


Jazontae Howard (Center) dodging Carroll Pioneers. Jordan Smith (Left) would score a touchdown on the next play.

Any school’s homecoming game is typically the biggest game of the season.

If fans were looking for a close, nail biting, intense game, this was not it.

After hours of on-again, off-again rain, everyone questioned the probability of the game happening. After awhile, the weather eased up, the rain stopped, and the game was only delayed 30 minutes from the original start time from prior lighting.

Fans, families, and former alums quickly filled Frank M. Lindsay field. The stakes were high for both teams.

Carroll University came to Decatur after trash talking Millikin on twitter. A barstool account from the college tweeted out various comments, insulting many aspects of Decatur and Millikin.

Millikin, wanting to win the big homecoming game, quickly shut Caroll University down.

Less than four minutes into the game, Millikin struck first, keeping the lead the entire game.

By halftime, Millikin led 35-10. Before teams went into their locker rooms, a fight broke out onto the field. This was the most intense the game was all night.

Carroll University was unable to score again all night, leaving Millikin with the win of 55-10.

“I was really happy,” Head Coach Dan Gritti said. “We got going and we did really well. I was really proud about our killer instinct and really proud about our restraint.”

The trash talking by Carroll was brought up numerous times throughout the week leading up to the game. Coach Gritti had his own opinion of the trash talking.

“They talked a lot all week about how they were coming here to ruin our homecoming, and if that’s what ruining homecoming was, then I think they should look those words up in the dictionary.”

Gritti, agreeing that the trash talking was in fact motiving for the team.

“This is a great game, there’s no need to talk a lot of trash and make fun of Millikin, make fun of Decatur, make fun of our facilities. You wanna do that, we’re gonna take our pound of flesh.”

Senior quarterback Nicco Stepina was on fire from the start. With seven touchdowns, breaking a Millikin record and tying his own record, Coach Gritti praises his quarterback. “He played within himself. He didn’t force any of those throws, which is awesome,” Coach Gritti said. “He let the game come to him while starting fast. Obviously, we have that great running game, and he was smart about things. This was one of his most complete games,” Coach Gritti said. Can he get better? “Sure. But we’re pretty lucky to have him.”

Although Millikin blew Carroll out of the water, there is still room for improvement.

“I think we could be a little bit more sharp, especially with assignments,” Coach Gritti said. “We still had a few more blown assignments, I think it wasn’t a question of necessarily focused on the way it had been previously, it’s just we were so excited. We knew basically anything we were going to do was going to work, so we could to be a little bit more focused” Coach Gritti said, adding “Special teams was better today, it still has a ways to go.”

Coach Gritti looks to take each game, win or loss, to the next game and learn from the past.

“I think football is the most emotional game,” Coach Gritti said. “Part of the reason we started slow last week was because we got out butts whipped. What I would expect from this game is it’s going to give us a lot of momentum going into next week,” Gritti said. We’re playing a great Carthage squad who’s had our number the last two years. So, we gotta get focused and get after them.”

Millikin goes on to play at Carthage College next Saturday at 1pm.