Milford Holds Off Taunton, Wins First Holiday Meeting

Milford Football
Milford senior Tyler Lane (21) break away for a first quarter touchdown, helping the Hawks earn a win in their inaugural Thanksgiving Day game against Taunton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – Across the Hockomock League, there are Thanksgiving Day rivalries that stretch back decades. On Thursday morning, the two newest programs in the league squared off in the league’s newest holiday rivalry, kicking it off with a game that went right down to the wire.

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Milford (9-3) pulled ahead by two scores in the fourth quarter but then had to hold on in the final minute, watching a deep pass drop incomplete to seal a 34-28 victory over Taunton (5-6) in their inaugural Thanksgiving Day game. It was Milford’s third win in three meetings between the two teams and during the trophy presentation both athletic directors spoke about their hopes that this will develop into a great end-of-season rivalry.

“A great program like Taunton, they’re going to continue to get better and better,” said Milford coach Dale Olson. “Milford had a great Thanksgiving opponent here back in the Mid-Wach days with Shrewsbury, hopefully we can turn that game into this game with Taunton.

Taunton coach Brad Sidwell added, “It’s great. If it’s anything like this one then it’s going to be a little bit of stress on Thanksgiving. It was back-and-forth, back-and-forth.”

Taunton had an extra week to prepare for the game, as the Hawks were playing a state semifinal last Friday, and the Tigers put that extra work into practice on the opening drive. Jacob Leonard ( 20-of-28, 202 yards) threw a perfect strike to Trent Santos (seven catches, 118 yards) for 19 to get to the Milford 37. Three plays later, Leonard’s sneak converted on fourth and inches and then he hooked up with Santos again for 25 yards and a touchdown.

The Hawks looked sluggish at the start, needing an emotional boost after the disappointment of the loss to King Philip. After a halfback pass went incomplete and Nathan LaPlante stuffed a play for a loss of five, Olson called timeout and gave his team a much-needed wakeup call.

“We sensed it. Only having a few days to prepare for a very good Taunton team, there’s a ton of skill on that team and the kids get after it, we knew we were going to have our hands full,” Olson explained.

Evan Cornelius (17-of-24, 154 yards) swung a pass to Tyler Lane for 17 and a first down. A 12-yard pass to Grant Scudo got the ball down to the Taunton 32 and Lane (16 carries, 108 yards) did the rest. The senior running back barreled through the line, breaking tackles, and then broke free in the secondary for a game-tying score.

After forcing a three-and-out, thanks to a sack by Cornelius (who was named Defensive MVP), the Hawks went right back to work. A completion to Jayden Agnew got the ball to the goal line, but then Taunton stuffed back-to-back runs, with Kasaan Jean-Baptiste and Ryan MacDougall combining to drop Lane at the four. On third and goal, Cornelius looked to the right and Faisal Mass tipped, picked off, and returned the pass 97 yards to put the Tigers back in front.

Milford’s offense was still moving the ball well and the Hawks marched right back down the field on the following possession. John Castillo sacked Cornelius for a loss of seven but on third and 17, Cornelius connected with Isaiah Pantalone (seven catches, 56 yards) for 18 and the first. Another third down and long pass hit Scudo for 25 to the one. This time, Cornelius was able to punch it in for the TD and tied it at 14-14.

Pantalone also provided a defensive spark, as his hit forced an Evan Perrotta fumble that was recovered by Alex McColl at the Taunton 41. Lane got an inch more than he needed on fourth and two to keep the drive moving but the Tigers were able to hold and force a field goal. Nicholas Araujo booted a 41-yard kick to make it 17-14.

“We get the deflection and the kid goes back 97 yards and changed the whole outlook on the game,” said Olson, “but I’m thankful we have a sophomore kicker who can kick the ball like that, he’s a huge weapon.”

The Tigers thought they had a chance to take the lead with a two-minute drive. Leonard scrambled for 21 yards on two plays to get to the Milford 22. On third and three from the 15, Leonard hit Jose Touron for 10 yards to the five and the Tigers scrambled to spike the ball and stop the clock with six seconds left. Sidwell was adamant the clock should’ve stopped seven seconds earlier on the first down and given Taunton two shots at the end zone. Instead, the Tigers got one and Scudo tackled Troy Santos a couple yards short as time expired.

Sidwell said, “The clock should stop on a first down, which it didn’t. I thought there were 12 seconds left, there were six. It was bad. It was awful. We had a timeout in our pocket to save. I’m very frustrated by the way that happened.”

Things went from back to worse at the start of the second half. Milford was forced to punt, but the ball appeared to bounce up off the leg of Nathan Keenan and was recovered by Eric Landry at the 32. On third and goal from the three, Cornelius was able to power into the end zone over the right side of the line for a 24-14 edge.

A three-and-out gave Milford the ball back with a chance to make things comfortable heading into the fourth quarter, but Taunton’s defense held again, stopping the Hawks at the 28. Araujo made sure that Milford got at least three points with a 45-yard field goal.

The visitors needed a break and Trent Santos gave them some momentum with a 31-yard return out to the 48. Two plays later, Santos was able to get separation on the near sideline and pulled in a 46-yard touchdown that cut the lead to six with 12 minutes to go.

Araujo was unable to hit from 51 yards, which gave Taunton the ball at its own 20. Leonard scrambled away from pressure but then attempted an underhand pass that Scudo was able to pick off and give the Hawks the ball at the 23. Pantalone followed the block of Marco Monteiro on a sweep, scoring from 10 yards out and seemingly putting the game away.

It only appeared to be over, as Taunton roared back into the game with a huge drive. Leonard moved the chains with a 13-yard scramble and then hit Santos for 16 yards to the Milford 31. On the next play, he threw a strike to Touron, who had gotten behind the secondary. Keenan’s extra point cut the lead to six.

“Our kids fight hard all the time,” Sidwell said. “It is hard on a younger quarterback when you have to throw it and they know it. He gave us a chance to win there at the end.”

The onside kick attempt was recovered at the Taunton 48 and the Tigers had one last chance. On third and two, Cornelius and Angelo Romero combined on a sack to force fourth and nine from the Taunton side of the 50. Leonard bought time in the pocket and looked deep for Santos, who beat his man, but the throw was a yard too far and Milford took home the win.

“That’s kind of been our M.O.,” said Olson. “We haven’t done anything easy over these past two seasons. We’ve played in a lot of tight games.

“When the kids needed to dig in, they dug in today. It’s been a great ride these last two years and to finish 9-3 the future is bright here in Milford.”

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Second Half Comeback Sends KP Back to Gillette

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King Philip junior running back Rudy Gately escapes a handful fo Milford defenders in the second half at Marciano Stadium. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com
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BROCKTON, Mass. – King Philip has been in these type of games before. Despite trailing by two points going into halftime of Friday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at Brockton’s Marciano Stadium, the Warriors remained confident that they could turn things around.

In the third quarter, KP ran 20 plays to Milford’s one. The Warriors ate up more than nine minutes off the clock on a 16-play, go-ahead drive to start the half, forced a turnover, and then ran another 10 plays and used up more than four minutes to extend the lead. Before the Hawks had a chance to find their footing after the break, KP had taken control of the game.

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The Warriors scored 17 unanswered in the second half, turning a two-point deficit into a 31-16 victory that sends KP to Gillette Stadium for the fourth time in the past six years (or four out of the past five seasons where a state title was up for grabs).

“We knew we weren’t getting that good of a push up front and we wanted to come out there and we wanted to set the tone for the second half,” said senior lineman Hunter Hastings about turning things around out of halftime. “We knew we had to do it on the first drive, so we came out there and we pounded the ball and we took up time and scored the ball, doesn’t get better than that.”

He added, “Coach Lee tells us what we need to do and he knows we’re going to be in these situations and he knows we’ve got to fight through the adversity and that’s what we do at KP.”

Milford came out with a hurry-up offense, trying to get the KP defense on its heels and slow down the pass rush. It worked on the opening drive, as the Hawks marched right down field, going 70 yards on 13 plays, and taking the lead. The big play was a 30-yard pass to the sideline from Evan Cornelius to Jayden Agnew to convert on third and long. Cornelius would finish off the drive with a 4-yard keeper.

“We wanted to go hurry-up early, but we just don’t have the numbers to sustain that for a whole game,” Milford coach Dale Olson said. “Tried to limit their blitz package and had a great first drive.”

The lead lasted all of 19 seconds. Although Milford is known more for the big-play offense, KP hit paydirt on its first play from scrimmage. An end around to Crawford Cantave caught the Hawks over-pursuing and the senior raced up the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown that quickly tied the game.

“You get knocked down, you’ve got to get up, you’ve got to have a response,” Lee explained. “Craw gets us right back in so we get a fresh start. I told them, let’s get through it, eventually the pace will slow, things will get down, and we’ll get back on schedule.”

Olson said, “Give them props, that’s a new formation we saw last week and they ran the double handoff. Our team’s chasing the first handoff and they give it to the kid going the other way and we haven’t seen it on film. It was a great call on their part.”

Isaiah Pantalone, who was held to one catch, broke a 54-yard return on the ensuing kick and the Hawks were back in business, starting at the KP 36. After a false start brought up first and 15 at the 30, Cornelius hit Nick Schuler for 13 yards. Tyler Lane (15 carries, 119 yards) got two to bring up fourth and one. The Hawks lined up to go for it but a false start backed them up, so the field goal unit came out. Another false start made it a 43-yard kick, which KP blocked.

On the final possession of the first quarter, KP struck again. Charlie Grant (4-of-9, 38 yards) converted a third and long with a 12-yard pass over the middle to Danny Clancy. On third and two from the Milford 49, Rudy Gately (22 carries, 134 yards) found a little seam between the right guard and tackle and burst through it, breaking away for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

Milford again got into KP territory on its next drive. Lane had the big play with a 43-yard rush down to the 32, but that’s where the possession stalled. Sean King blocked a fourth down pass to get the ball back, but the Warriors went three-and-out and punted. With the short field, Milford was able to tack on three points. A nice play by Cantave and William Astorino on third down forced the Hawks to settle for a 32-yard kick by Nicholas Araujo.

The biggest play of the half came on KP’s next possession. Milford brought a big rush to try and block Grant’s rugby-style punt. Lane got through for the block, scooped up the loose ball, and took it the distance. He appeared to be tackled at about the five, but somehow managed to stay on his feet and find the end zone. Although a low snap led to a missed extra point, Milford regained the lead going into the break, 16-14.

KP came out intent on grinding down the Milford defense. Nathan Kearney converted on third and one, then Grant hit Clancy for eight yards to convert on third and eight. Gately converted back-to-back third downs, as KP just kept pounding the ball up the middle and moving the chains.

The Hawks were able to get stops inside the 30 and force the Warriors to settle for a 38-yard Matthew Kelley field goal, but KP had used up 9:19 off the clock, ran 16 plays, regained the lead, and stolen all of the energy from the opposite sideline. Milford tried to take a shot on the first play of its first possession, but Crawford was able to go up and intercept a pass to Pantalone and get KP the ball back at the Hawks 42.

“We ran one play in the third quarter and it’s a 50-50 ball that goes through Isaiah’s hands into one of their best player’s hands,” Olson said. “Usually Isaiah makes that play and it’s a big play down the sideline, but that’s the game of football.”

Four plays later, the third quarter came to a close. Milford had run one play in 12 minutes. After Grant found Cantave in the flat to convert third and five, Gately got four straight carries down to the 10. On third and six, Grant looked for Clancy in the end zone. The pass fell incomplete but the officials called defensive holding, which gave KP another chance. Now, on third and one from the five, Gately got the call, spun out of a tackle in the backfield, and scored for the second time.

“Rudy doesn’t look like your typical pound back but he finds a way to make things happen when he gets the ball in his hands,” said Lee. “Craw was able to do it and the offensive line had a response. We made some big pass plays. We made plays.”

A short punt on Milford’s next possession meant that the Warriors got the ball back near midfield and they went right back to grinding out first downs. Facing third and nine from the 14, Gately somehow managed to keep his feet moving, breaking tackles in the backfield again, and moving the pile down to the five for a first and goal. Two plays later, Cantave punched it in from the three for a 31-16 lead.

Thomas Brewster broke up a pass play on the sideline and Jake Sullivan sacked Cornelius (8-of-20, 63 yards), not allowing Milford to put together a drive to try and cut into the lead in the final two minutes.

When asked how it feels to be heading back to a state title game, Hastings replied, “It’s never felt better. We come to play every week. We don’t care who we’re against.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Olson remarked, “I’m proud of my kids. We’re still trying to build this and for us to be in this game is huge for this program.”
This will be the fifth Div. 2 (2016 was D1A) Super Bowl in a row, and eighth in the last 11 years, that has featured either King Philip or Mansfield. Only two times in the past 11 years, 2014 and 2015, has the Hock not had at least one team reach a Super Bowl.

King Philip (9-1) will face Franklin on Thanksgiving Day to decide the Kelley-Rex division title and then will await the winner of No. 1 Catholic Memorial and No. 4 Marshfield in the Super Bow. Milford (8-3) will face Taunton in the first Thanksgiving Day matchup between the two programs.

“It feels awesome,” Lee said about heading back to Gillette. He added with a laugh, “I love that we have a humungous Thanksgiving Day game against, you know, the third best team in the state before. We can’t enjoy it for long.”

Milford Runs Over Natick and Into D2 Semifinal

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Milford senior Tyler Lane (21) rushed for more than 150 yards and scored a pair of second half touchdowns in a 21-7 win over Natick. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – There are days when an offense can be creative, going with trick plays, receiver screens, deep throws trying to stretch the opposition and score in a hurry. In the playoffs, sometimes a more straightforward approach is required.

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In the second half of Thursday night’s Div. 2 quarterfinal, Milford decided to take a decidedly old school plan of attack. Over two drives, the Hawks ran 33 plays, covered 173 yards, used up nearly half of the clock in third and fourth quarters, and scored a pair of touchdowns. Out of those 33 plays, only five were passes.

The ground game and a stout defense proved to be Milford’s best weapons, as the Hawks pulled out a 21-7 victory that moved them within one win of a first-ever trip to Gillette.

“I just told them, buckle up, we need to run the football,” said Milford coach Dale Olson about his message at halftime. “Three down box and sometimes it was a 3-2 or a 3-1, they were so concerned about our pass game. It’s so simple, I told the quarterback if it’s a limited box then run the football. It wasn’t Evan’s best night throwing the football but he ran the ball like a man tonight.”

Natick was in Milford territory in seven of its eight drives on the night, but many times that was the result of great starting field position. The 35-yard-line was the furthest that Natick started any of its first half drives, but the Milford defense kept finding ways to keep them out of the end zone.

On the first possession, a big tackle on the edge by Nicholas Araujo and Jayden Archeval forced third and long. Grant Scudo broke up the third down play to end the drive. The second drive ended after Keith Lee stuffed a run on second down and then Scudo dropped a third-down screen pass attempt for a loss.

The visitors finally broke through on their third possession, which they started at their own 45. After converting on third down, Colby LeBlanc was able to buy time in the pocket, eluding the rush and giving time for a receiver to come free. Mathew Pole found himself open in the seam and it turned into a 43-yard touchdown.

Milford moved the ball on its second possession, with Evan Cornelius (13-of-25, 129 yards) hitting Cameron Phillipss for a big conversion on third and eight. Cornelius (11 carrries, 61 yards) also converted third and short with a 10-yard keeper. After getting inside the Natick 30, things stalled. David Seiche nearly intercepted a pass and on fourth and four a screen pass to Damien Carter was stuffed for a loss.

Its first possession after Natick took the lead ended with a Seiche interception, but Milford’s defense forced a punt and the Hawks took over at their own 20. Scudo broke an 18-yard draw up the middle that put Milford into Natick territory and, on third and eight, Cornelius looked down the near sideline to Isaiah Pantalone (four catches, 54 yards), who was finally able to get just enough separation to haul in a 34-yard touchdown and tie the game with 2:20 before halftime.

Momentum seemed to be with the home side, especially when Nizayah Montas fumbled near midfield and Scudo recovered. A big completion over the middle to Jayden Agnew (five catches, 45 yards) gained 17 and got the Hawks to the 26. They managed to spike the ball with one tick remaining on the clock, but Araujo’s 36-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

Seiche had a big kickoff return to start the third quarter, putting Natick at the 46, but on third down and short Alex McColl was able to stop Montas for no gain and force a punt. The ball was downed at the nine and Milford went to work behind its big offensive line.

Scudo, Cornelius, and Tyler Lane were finding running room and grinding out yards and first downs. An 11-yard keeper got the Hawks out to the 35 and then Lane went up the gut for 11 more. On third and one from the Natick 35, Lane burst through the line and then bounced it out to the left, finally being dragged down after a 23-yard gain. Three plays later, he was able to cash in from the one to put the hosts ahead for good.

Milford’s pass defense continued to be excellent with Archeval and Matt Girard both breaking up passes to force another punt. This time, the Hawks started at their own 18 but 18 plays and nearly 9-1/2 minutes later they were back in the end zone.

Olson said, “I said to them we need a championship drive right now and we’re going to run the football right down their throats and, if we can do that, we’re going to go play for the right to go to Gillette.”

Cornelius started the drive with a 13-yard completion to Nick Schuler and he kept the chains moving with a five-yard pass to Pantalone for a first down at the Natick 43. Lane followed that with a 17-yard carry. Scudo, Cornelius, and Lane all got the ball, grinding down to the goal line and it was Lane (29 carries, 157 yards) who would punch it in from a yard out, making it 21-7 with just 4:27 to play.

“Tyler’s a dude,” Olson said. “I don’t want to give him the ball that much because he’s a great linebacker and early in the season we gave it to him 29 times in one game and the first two days after that game he was in an ice bath. He’s not the fastest kid in the world, but man he runs hard.” When told Lane’s stats for the game, Olson said with a smile, “That’s a great night.”

Milford (8-2) will face a rematch with a league foe in next week’s semifinal at a location to be determined. The Hawks will face either No. 3 King Philip, which beat Milford 17-14 on a last second field goal, or No. 6 Mansfield, which Milford beat 27-24 in overtime, for the right to play in the D2 Super Bowl.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this program in 20 months where it’s gone and it’s been the kids,” Olson explained. “They bought into the system and they’re playing well.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Milford Comes Out On Top in Slugfest at Stoughton

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Milford celebrates Tyler Lane’s touchdown with 1:59 left to play, which turned out to be the game-winner in a 28-21 win at Stoughton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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STOUGHTON, Mass. – One of the characteristics that first-year Milford coach Dale Olson has talked about with his team is resiliency. On Friday night at Stoughton’s new Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Hawks showed that they have been listening to the coach’s message.

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Milford overcame two first half turnovers and three first half drives that ended inside the Stoughton 10, and twice in the fourth quarter the Hawks answered Stoughton touchdowns with scoring drives of their own. All of that allowed Milford to pull out a hard-fought, 28-21 road win against their former division rival.

“We always talk about adversity and we faced it again tonight,” said Olson. “The kids handled it. We didn’t score two times inside the five and that’s a great football team and you can’t do that, but I’m proud of our kids tonight. They fought and good teams find a way to win.”

The visitors were able to move the ball almost all night. Milford finished with more than 300 yards passing and nearly 200 yards on the ground, but the Hawks missed several opportunities to break the game open early.

On the opening drive of the game, the Hawks put together a 10-play drive and marched all the way down to the Stoughton three. Milford was finding success with the short passing game, as senior Brady Olson (25-of-42, 312 yards) completed seven passes to three different receivers on the first possession. But, on first and goal, his pass into the end zone was intercepted by Emmett Pearl.

“We were trying to get as much pass rush as we could and they just nickel-dimed it,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “They had a couple simple patterns and we were trying to cover, but we didn’t stop them right there.”

Stoughton got the ball at it own three and just four plays later was in the lead. A 19-yard carry by Christopher Ais (17 carries, 68 yards) gave the Black Knights some breathing room. On third and five, John Burke (11-of-24, 187 yards) fooled the Milford defense with play action and hit Christian Ais (five catches, 108 yards) in stride for a 73-yard score.

Not to be outdone, the Hawks hit back with a big play of their own. Facing third and 13, Olson fired a strike to Max Martin (seven catches, 121 yards), who hauled it in, took a big hit, spun free, and got a good block from Jayden Agnew to race 75 yards. Both extra points were blocked, so it was tied 6-6.

Following and Evan Hazard interception and return, Milford started its next drive at the Stoughton 25. The Black Knights managed to stop the Hawks on three plays inside the 10 and blocked Nicholas Araujo’s 21-yard field goal attempt.

A short punt again gave Milford great starting field position, this time at the Stoughton 34. On second down, Jake Queeney picked off a pass in the end zone to again deny Milford a go-ahead score.

With a 53-yard punt, Christopher Ais pinned Milford down to start its next drive at its own two, but with horrible starting field position the Hawks finally got back into the end zone. Olson started working down the left sideline to Matt Varteresian (seven catches, 74 yards) out to almost midfield.

As Stoughton’s defense prepared for the pass, Carter Scudo took a draw play up the middle for 52 yards and the visitors’ first lead. Olson hit Agnew on the conversion to make it 14-6.

Milford had one more possession to try and extend its lead before halftime. The Hawks used 15 plays and got all the way to the Stoughton three but were denied again by the Black Knights defense. Andrew Medina made a good play on the ball to breakup one pass and Olson saw his fourth down try get batted down at the line.

It definitely looked like the story of the game would be missed chances, as Stoughton put together a 14-play, 76-yard scoring drive that ate up nearly 7-1/2 minutes of the third quarter. The big play was a play action pass from Burke to Pearl for 31 yards into Milford territory.

Burke capped the drive on third and goal from the five, as he rolled out to his left and went full extension to hit the front pylon. His two-point pass to Pearl in the back of the end zone tied the game at 14-14.

“He had some good throws,” Burke said of his quarterback. “We just missed a couple of home runs. We worked hard and we had some good runs.”

After an intentional grounding call stalled Stoughton’s next drive inside Milford territory, the Hawks answered to get back in front. On third and six, Olson went deep to Keithley Sutton, who just got his hands under the ball and pulled in the 37-yard reception. On third and three from the 26, Olson showed off his legs, scrambling for 25 yards down to the goal line. Scudo (11 carries, 68 yards) punched it in for his second touchdown of the night.

“We knew that we could take the short stuff,” Olson explained. “Take what they give you and [Brady] did it tonight. At times, it didn’t look good and we struggled to run the football and in the end we rushed for 173 yards. In the end, we needed to be able to run the football to win this game and we did.”

For the second time in the game, Ais pinned Milford deep, this time with a 60-yard boot that rolled down to the two. On first down, the Black Knights nearly caught Scudo in the end zone, but he was able to dive to the one and avoid the safety. Stoughton took advantage of a short punt to even the game up. Christian Ais cut upfield on a sweep to the left and raced for a 22-yard score, his second touchdown of the night, and it was 21-21 with 4:38 to play.

Momentum seemed to be with the home team, but Milford’s offense continued to be hard to stop. An eight-yard pass to Sutton converted a third and four and kept the drive alive. With the ball at the Stoughton 22 and the Black Knights expecting a pass, Tyler Lane (seven carries, 58 yards) burst up the gut on a draw play, cut to the far sideline, and flung himself at the front corner of the end zone for what turned out to be the game-winning score.

“I was trying to blitz there at the end, thinking they were going to throw, and that kid just went over us,” said Burke. “Their QB is just tough. He had a pretty good day. Second half I thought we did better.”

Stoughton had two minutes to try and answer. Burke started it with a 15-yard keeper and was able to recover from an intentional grounding call with an 11-yard pass to Queeney on fourth and eight. In the end, the Milford defense forced three straight incompletions and a turnover on downs to seal the win.

“It was a rock fight,” said Olson. “Burke has a done a great job and Stoughton kids are tough kids. We’re 4-1 and almost every game we’ve been in a rock fight, it’s just a slugfest.”

Milford (4-1) will travel to Lowell for a non-league game next Friday night. Stoughton (3-2) will look to avoid a three-game losing streak when it travels to King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/09/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Football
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 26 – Final
1st Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 15-yard rush, James Gilleran XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) C. Gill 3-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good; (M) Nico Holmes 3-yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: (M) C. Gill 45-yard rush, XP failed.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

North Attleboro, 14 @ Foxboro, 10 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 1-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Cam Prescott 7-yard pass to Luis Sulham, Sam Carpenter XP good.
3rd Quarter: (F) S. Carpenter 25-yard field goal good.
4th Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 16-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.

King Philip, 36 @ Canton, 7 – Final
1st Quarter: (KP) Crawford Cantave 22-yard rush, 2pt pass good.
2nd Quarter (KP) Tom McLeish 10-yard pass to Danny Clancy, Matt Kelley XP good; (KP) C. Cantave 8-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) Anthony Botelho touchdown pass to Vincent O’Brien, Will Keefe XP good; (KP) C. Cantave 20-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good.
4th Quarter: (KP) Charlie Grant 8-yard pass to D. Clancy, M. Kelley XP good.

Sharon, 33 @ Blue Hill, 38 – Final

Milford, 28 @ Stoughton, 21 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (S) John Burke 73-yard pass to Christian Ais, XP blocked; (M) Brady Olson 75-yard pass to Max Martin, XP blocked.
2nd Quarter: (M) Carter Scudo 52-yard rush, B. Olson 2-point pass to Jayden Agnew.
3rd Quarter: (S) J. Burke 5-yard rush, J. Burke 2-point pass to Emmett Pearl.
4th Quarter: (M) C. Scudo 1-yard rush; Nicholas Araujo XP good; (S) C. Ais 22-yard rush, Jonah Ly XP good; (M) Tyler Lane 22-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.

Taunton, 30 vs. West Bridgewater, 28 – Final
1st Quarter: (T) Danny MacDougall 43-yard pass to Trent Santos, Matt Abouzied XP good; (T) Jake Leonard 14-yard rush, M. Abouzied XP good.
2nd Quarter: (T) Brett Heggs 3-yard rush, XP failed; (WB) West Bridgewater 2-yard rush, XP good; (T) D. MacDougall 45-yard rush, M. Abouzied XP good.
3rd Quarter: (T) M. Abouzied 28-yard field goal.
4th Quarter: (WB) West Bridgewater 4-yard rush, XP good; (WB) West Bridgewater 8-yard pass, 2pt rush good; (WB) West Bridgewater 13-yard rush, 2pt rush failed.

Volleyball
Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final
Sharon, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final

Football Predictions

Attleboro @ Mansfield
Ryan Lanigan: Mansfield
Josh Perry: Mansfield

North Attleboro @ Foxboro
Ryan Lanigan: Foxboro
Josh Perry: North Attleboro

King Philip @ Canton
Ryan Lanigan: King Philip
Josh Perry: King Philip

Sharon @ Blue Hill
Ryan Lanigan: Sharon
Josh Perry: Sharon

Milford @ Stoughton
Ryan Lanigan: Stoughton
Josh Perry: Milford

Oliver Ames @ Franklin (Saturday)
Ryan Lanigan: Franklin
Josh Perry: Franklin

Milford Earns Rare Win at Franklin After Wild Finish

Milford football
Milford senior Carter Scudo (11) rushed for more than 170 yards to help the Hawks earn their second win against Franklin since 1990. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Considering Milford’s track record in this long-running series against neighboring Franklin, it should be no surprise that if the Hawks were going to pull out just their second win against the Panthers since 1990 that it was going come right down to the final play.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Evan Hazard’s interception in the end zone sealed a wild, 34-27 victory for the Hawks on Saturday afternoon at Pisini Stadium, ending a wait of more than three decades for a road win against Franklin.

The Milford defense, which had recorded two shutouts in its three games so far this season, was given a stern test by Franklin’s spread offense but forced four turnovers and scored a pair of touchdowns, including Kevin O’Connor’s late interception return that proved to be the game-winner.

“I’ll take a win,” said first-year Milford coach Dale Olson. “I knew this rivalry had been one-sided in the past, I didn’t know it was that one-sided. I’m happy for our kids and we’ve just got to keep getting better. That’s it.”

He added, “The pick-six was huge by Kevin. They’d been hitting us all day in the flat…We knew it was going to be a challenge, facing a quality team in Franklin.”

It was 27-20 after first half in which both teams were able to move the ball at will. Things settled down in the third and fourth quarters and the score remained the same until O’Connor sat on the short out route, intercepting the Jared Arone pass and returning it 60 yards for the touchdown with 3:33 left to play.

Although that pushed the lead to two scores with time quickly running out, it was hardly the end of the action.

Franklin came right back on its next possession to cut the lead in half. Keith Nally returned the kick 27 yards out to the 40 to give the Panthers good starting field position. A 10-yard completion from Arone (24-of-35 for 292 yards) to Jake O’Brien (five catches for 57 yards) converted a third and nine to keep the drive alive. After a 28-yard pass to Mack Gulla, Arone hit O’Brien in the front corner of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown.

With just 1:35 left, Milford was able to recover Parker Cheuvront’s onside kick attempt and took over at its 48. Carter Scudo (23 carries for 174 yards) got a first down in Franklin territory and the Panthers started to use their timeouts. On fourth and four, Matt Varteresian’s jet sweep was stopped short of the marker and the Panthers took back over on their own 30 with just 19 seconds on the clock.

Arone went to work on the far sideline, hooking up with Will Tracey (nine catches for 161 yards) on gains of 14, 12, and 10 to get to the Milford 34 with seven seconds left. Franklin tried to take a shot at the end zone, but the Hail Mary attempt was intercepted by Hazard as the clock ran out.

Franklin coach Eain Bain said, “Having a young team, it’s not as easy as saying okay veteran you know what to do, you’ve seen this a million times, but when you look at what we put in for today and what we were trying to do, I’m happy with the execution for about 90% of the game plan. We made some mistakes but we’ll learn from them. We know the talent we have.”

The hosts opened the scoring in the first quarter. Kyle Palmieri caught a blocked punt to start the Panthers in Milford territory. A holding call forced Franklin into a third and 23, but Arone was able to find Tracey deep down the far sideline for a 44-yard completion down to the two. Gulla (27 carries for 114 yards) punched it in from there for a 6-0 lead.

Milford responded on its next drive. On third and five from the Franklin 37-yard-line, Brady Olson (5-of-15, 83 yards) had his swing pass tipped but fortuitously it fell into the hands of Jayden Agnew who weaved his way for 27 yards inside the Franklin 10. Scudo took a sweep to the left and found the corner from eight yards out to put the visitors in front.

“They came out in a five-man box and that dictates you have to run the football,” Olson said. “I thought Carter did a great job. We’ve got to get better in general at our pass game. We’re too good Monday through Friday passing the ball and then Saturday comes and we’re not great.”

Now it was Franklin’s turn to answer. The Panthers put together a nine-play, 67-yard drive to regain the lead. After Gulla was able to get two yards on fourth and inches, Arone again looked deep down the sideline to Tracey and he was able to pull in the 32-yard touchdown pass.

“I thought we threw the ball well and ran the ball well,” said Bain. “[Jared’s] grown a ton, the receivers have grown a ton, our line, I think we run the ball as well as we have in four years here. I thought they had to gear up to stop our run and that almost never happens.”

The lead didn’t last long and Milford was able to take control with two scores in just 28 seconds. Scudo’s 38 yard, winding run through the Franklin defense set up Milford inside the 10. Olson (nine carries for 23 yards) capped the drive with a one-yard sneak. Two plays into Franklin’s next drive, Milford was able to force a fumble right in front of its bench and the ball was scooped by Hazard, who raced 35 yards for a 21-13 advantage.

After Jonathan Martins recovered a fumble, Franklin cut the lead back to just one. Despite being surrounded by the Milford pass rush on third and 11, Arone again went deep to Tracey, this time for 31 yards. Gulla bounced left for 24 on the next play down to the Milford seven. Two plays later, Arone hit Tracey on a three-yard slant for the score.

“We knew we needed to defend the whole field today against a good spread team and they got us on a couple long passes,” Olson explained. “That just can’t happen. At times I thought we did it well today and two big plays that turned into scores for them we had them behind the chains. Third and [23] and third and [11] and they scored touchdowns. That hurt.”

That was not the end of the first-half scoring. Milford took over with little more than two minutes left in the half. Olson was able to find Keithley Sutton down the far sideline, after the pass slipped through the hands of a Franklin defensive back, for 35 yards into the red zone. A Scudo draw got the Hawks to the four but the Panthers stuffed back-to-back plays. Olson spiked the ball, bringing up fourth and goal.

The Milford QB was able to push forward for the one-yard sneak with 17 seconds left in the second quarter. The XP was no good and the Hawks went into the break up 27-20.

Bain said, “We’re not huge up front. We put a lot on their plates to try and stop the run and that [Milford] line, that’s a really, really good offensive line and I thought our guys played so well. I’m so proud of them.”

Milford (3-1) will travel to Stoughton next week, the first of two crossover games against two of the top teams in the Davenport division (league-leading North Attleboro being the other). Franklin (2-2) will try to bounce back when it hosts Oliver Ames on Saturday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 03/13/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Football
North Attleboro, 41 @ Canton, 13 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 45-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 10-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good; (NA) T. DeMattio 8-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 21-yard pass to Matt Penta, T. DeMattio XP good; (C) Anthony Botelho 6-yard rush, Will Keefe XP good; (NA) Jacob Silva 21-yard rush, Evan Vigorito XP good.
4th Quarter: (C) Cam Sanchez 1-yard rush, XP blocked; (NA) Danny Curran 90-yard kickoff return, XP failed.

Attleboro, 0 @ Milford, 34 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (M) Brady Olson 5-yard pass to Carter Scudo, Nicholas Araujo XP good; (M) B. Olson 10-yard pass to Jayden Agnew, N. Araujo XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) Dom Schofield 7-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (M) B. Olson 13-yard pass to Keithley Sutton, N. Araujo XP good; (M) B. Olson 62-yard pass to K. Sutton, XP no good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

Volleyball
Mansfield, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip won in its home opener, sweeping the regular season series against Mansfield with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-18) win. Sophomore Ahunna James had a strong all-around game with 11 kills, 11 digs, and a pair of aces while senior Nicole Coughlan added 10 kills and five digs for KP. Emma Brooks (13 digs, three aces) and Lily Carlow (seven digs, 13 service points) anchored the Warriors’ defense.