Milford Comes Out On Top in Slugfest at Stoughton

Milford Football
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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.