What is a little surprising is how lopsided it was.
Stoughton racked up 372 yards compared to Milford’s 78 yards — all rushing yards for both teams — and that dominance translated into a 28-0 win for the Black Knights at Anthony L. Sarno Field.
“We played well,” Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said. “Milford is a good team, they’ve pounded some teams. Even though I thought we did a great job, I thought we could have been up another touchdown but a couple of penalties. Overall we played very well.
“For us defensively, Milford has been scoring a lot of points, and the big boy (Blake Hill), he’s a great player, I don’t know what happened to him (in the second half) – he’s a tough kid. We did a great job up front. Sully and Izon, they’re just great players and the offensive line did a nice job. Defensively, they couldn’t have gotten too many yards.”
The Black Knights’ defense, which recorded its second shutout of the season, gave the offense a second chance after an opening drive fumble. Stoughton moved the ball 52 yards on seven plays but a high snap resulted in a turnover. However, on Milford’s first play, a bad snap resulted in a fumble that Andrew Iverson gobbled up.
Three plays later, Izon Swain-Price (11 carries, 149 yards, three touchdowns) took a counter to the left, broke free of a tackle and scampered in for a 16 yard touchdown. Josh Cocchi’s first of four extra points put the Black Knights up 7-0 with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
Another turnover haunted Milford on its next drive. After converting a third down on a carry from Blake Hill (11 carries, 37 yards), a pitch was dropped with Stoughton’s Jason Joseph landing on the loose ball.
Stoughton capitalized on its second takeaway, using six plays to cover 40 yards. This time, Swain-Price found a big hole through the left side and walked in for a six yard touchdown, making it 14-0 with 1:32 left in the opening quarter.
“Absolutely huge,” Burke said of getting the ball back quickly after the turnovers. “Milford has been ripping up teams up and down the field from what I’ve seen on film. We put a lot of emphasis on just tackling, getting off the blocks and making sure we get to 42, who’s as good as anybody. I’m glad we knew where he was, in the middle. We tried to use two, three guys and go different ways and that’s sort of why our offense does well.”
Milford’s final three drives of the first half resulted in two punts from sophomore Sean Lehane and another fumble. Stoughton wasn’t able to capitalize as their final three drives ended with a punt, an interception by Milford’s Conor Corbett, and a turnover on downs.
The Scarlet Hawks were forced to punt on their opening drive of the second half and Stoughton pounced. Using an 11-play drive, the Black Knights covered 88 yards. Highlighted by 15 yard and 19 yard runs by Ryan Sullivan (14 carries, 134 yards) and 17 and 11 yard rushes by Swain-Price, Stoughton eventually punched it in on 4th and 1 from the six, Justin Ly (seven carries, 27 yards) hurdling his way up the middle for the score. Stoughton led 21-0 with 2:21 left in the third quarter.
“That’s it – you have it mix it up,” Burke said of mixing up play calls. “We can throw the ball too but today was a little tough. We both had a couple turnovers, that’s high school football. I’m really happy for the kids. Who we have next week, I have no clue but we’re going to be at home. That’s what we’ve been shooting for. I’m happy we finished strong in the league today. We had one bad period this year. The guys were tough, they were giving some licks out there, there was some banging in the middle. We’re not the most gifted team but we have kids that work very hard and they’re very strong.”
All three of Milford’s other drives in the second half resulted in punts.
Stoughton used its first drive of the fourth quarter to cap the scoring. On the first play of the drive, Swain-Price used a counter to go up the left side untouched for a 79 yard touchdown.
Stoughton football finishes the regular season at 5-2 overall and 4-1 in division play. While MIAA playoff seeds will be finalized on Sunday, it’s likely that Stoughton will be the #4 seed in Division 2 South. Milford (4-3, 3-2) will likely be the #6 seed and have an away game.