Miller High school was seemingly sleepwalking into the second half, losing four fumbles in less than 10 minutes and fell behind Lake Elsinore Lakeside 14-0.
Then things suddenly changed.
A 72-yard touchdown pass from Michael Watkins to Devon Brown with 7:37 left in the third quarter started Miller’s comeback.
By the end of the game, Miller had scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions plus a defensive touchdown and downed Lakeside 39-20 in the season opener for both schools.
Watkins ended up with 191 yards passing and 168 yards rushing as the Rebels overcame four lost fumbles in a less than 10-minute span in the second and third quarters.
Brown’s touchdown catch-and run cut the deficit to 14-7.
After a Lakeside punt, Miller drove down and a Watkins 8-yard run cut the deficit to 14-13.
Another Lakeside punt and again Miller drove down and a 69-uyard drive was capped by Watkins’ 27-yard TD Run that gave them a 19-14 lead.
Sean Cabrera’s third touchdown reception of the game from QB Dakota Wilson gave Lakeside the lead back at 20-19.
But that was it for the Lancers.
Calvin Ransom’s 3-yard run put Miller back up 26-20 with 5:54 to play. Tre’von Jones then intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and Miller led 32-20.
Lakeside continued to implode and another fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave Miller the ball back. and Martee Witt caught an 8-yard touchdown pass for a 39-20 lead..
“I’m really proud of the way the guys battled back,” Miller coach Marcus Soward said. “We had some injuries, but other guys stepped up.”
“At hailftime, I just told them, it’s 0-0 right now. Don’t worry about the scoreboard. We’ve got a great group. They’re very close.”