Milford Sneaks Out Win Against Stoughton in Finale

Milford football
Milford senior Brendan White (4) had an interception, a fumble recovery, and scored a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, as part of the Hawks’ win at Stoughton in the regular season finale. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – When the final whistle sounded at Stonehill College’s WB Mason Stadium, Milford had no idea whether or not it had done enough to secure a spot in the Div. 3 South playoffs but Hawks coach Anthony Vizakis was sure that they had done all they could on Friday night.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“These kids never quit,” Vizakis said. “A couple of weeks ago the seniors took it upon themselves to take control of the ship and steer it and they’ve done a really good job of getting the team to where they wanted to go. I can’t say enough about that group right there.”

Milford closed out its regular season with a come from behind, 18-15 win at division rival Stoughton in a game that felt like the postseason for both teams. At the start of the night, unofficially, the Black Knights held the final spot in the South bracket with Milford a spot behind and now both teams will have to wait and see how this result impacts the MIAA’s formula.

For the Hawks, it is a third straight win after losing the opening four games of the season. Senior Brendan White, who scored a touchdown, intercepted a pass, and recovered a fumble against the Black Knights, admitted that Friday’s win meant a lot to the upperclassmen.

“It really means a lot to these guys,” White said. “We’ve been through everything together going back to middle school. The way we responded, the way we came back from the hole we dug ourselves into, really shows how good this group of guys is and how Milford football culture is coming back.”

Milford knew it needed a win to have any shot at the postseason and the Hawks had several opportunities to get off to a great start and take the lead in the first half.

Shapel Feaster intercepted John Burke on third down on Stoughton’s first possession, returning it to the Black Knights 33. But the Hawks failed to take advantage. Four plays later, Colby Pires’ fourth down pass to Brendan White fell incomplete and the hosts took back over.

Stoughton was held without a first down on its first three possessions, while the Hawks drove into Black Knights territory on each of the first three times they had the ball. Each time, Milford saw its drive stall, including a touchdown that was called back due to a block in the back penalty.

On the third drive, Sean Lehane (four catches, 70 yards) lined up a 42-yard field goal attempt. The Black Knights blocked the kick with enough force that it ricocheted all the way to the Milford 30 where Christian Georges pounced on it.

Despite having only 13 yards of offense to that point, Stoughton found itself with a chance to take the lead. On third and seven, Burke (9-16, 111 yards) rolled out to the near sideline and he found Alex Iverson open. The senior running back turned and bowled his way through a couple of would-be tacklers for a 26-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

It was the one of only two first downs that Stoughton would get in the first half.

The Hawks needed a spark and finally put together a complete drive right before halftime. Pires (13-22, 183 yards) hit Hugo Lopes for a 30-yard gain to get things started. He then connected with Lehane on a bubble screen for 40 yards down to the one, where Jeff Grier hustled to make the touchdown-saving tackle. On the next play, Pires found Feaster wide open for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked and Stoughton went into the break ahead 7-6.

The Hawks started the third quarter by driving into Stoughton territory but were forced to punt. The Black Knights finally looked to get something going on offense when Burke was able to find Iverson, despite being hit by Josh Ligor, for a 28-yard gain. On fourth down, Burke’s pass was picked off by White to end the drive.

After another Milford punt, Stoughton turned the ball over for the third time. Again it was White that made the play, diving in to recover a botched hand-off at the Black Knights 19. Three plays later, Pires slipped a pass to White underneath the coverage and he dove into the end zone for Milford’s first lead, 12-7.

“That kid…he’s just heart and soul,” Vizakis said about White. “He gives every single thing he has every day and that kid is the definition of a tough football player and a great leader.”

Trailing for the first time on the night, Stoughton put together its best drive. The Black Knights marched 75 yards on 10 plays, mixing up the run and pass and getting Burke outside the pocket. Grier (11 carries, 56 yards) got it going with a 20 yard sweep and a pass interference call on a third down bomb helped keep the drive alive. Christopher Ais would give Stoughton back the lead when he found a seam on the left side and scored from 12 yards out.

Burke rolled to the near sideline and threw a strike to Malachi Green-Hightower, who just managed to keep his feet inbounds, for the two-point conversion and a 15-12 lead with 5:20 to play.

The Milford offense had been struggling at the start of the season, but scored 40-plus points in each of its last two games and seemed to have turned a corner.

The offense came through again in the fourth quarter, going 64 yards on seven plays in just under four minutes to earn the victory. Lucas Rosa (13 carries, 63 yards) had a run of 14 to get the ball to midfield and then Pires went deep to Feaster for 27 yards on the right sideline. After Rosa went 21 yards on two carries, Milford had the ball at the one. Ryan Pearl came off the bench and ran two sneaks to get the ball across for the score.

Vizakis said, “They scored, we expected them to score a few touchdowns tonight, but we also expected to score some more points at the end. That’s a great football team over there…but our kids don’t quit.”

Stoughton had 1:40 left to try and salvage the win. On third and six from his own 33, Burke looked deep down the sideline to Ajahn Rue and the junior receiver went up with Feaster. Both players came down with the ball, but the Milford defensive back ripped possession away, earning his second interception of the night and sealing the win.

“Clutch, clutch,” Vizakis said about Feaster. “He’s the emotional leader and just does the right things at the right time. Talk about a kid who’s overcome adversity in his own life to come out and play football with his friends on Friday nights, you can’t ask for much more than that.”

White added, “I think it was just our attitude from the beginning of the game. We had an attitude that we’re the best team on the field. Stoughton is a really good team and they played really hard but I think we just won the battle tonight.”

Milford (3-4, 3-2) and Stoughton (3-4, 2-3) will now wait and see how the playoff standings work out. The MIAA will announce its official brackets this weekend.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/07/18


Today’s games are listed below.

Game of the Week – Football
King Philip, 7 @ North Attleboro, 14 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (NA) Brendan McHugh 16-yard run, Tyler DeMattio XP good; (KP) Ryan Halliday 80-yard run, Cole Baker XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (NA) B. McHugh 33-yard run, T. DeMattio XP good.

Football
Milford, 7 @ Attleboro, 21 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (A) Jason Weir 16-yard pass to Ethan Cameron, Colby Briggs XP good.
3rd Quarter: (A) J. Weir 1-yard rush, C. Briggs XP good.
4th Quarter: (A) Justin Cote 33-yard rush, C. Briggs XP good. (M) Lucas Rosa 1-yard rush, Sean Lehane XP good.

Canton, 25 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 20 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (DR) 2-yard rush, XP good; (DR) 10-yard rush, XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 24-yard pass to Jace Emma, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (C) J. Hagan 30-yard rush, 2pt conversion failed; (C) Gersom Rivera 3-yard rush, 2pt conversion failed; (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 5-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good. (DR) 5-yard rush, XP failed.

Foxboro, 6 vs. Hingham, 22 – Final
1st Quarter: (H) Charlie Egan 8-yard rush, Jonathan Bearden 2pt rush.
2nd Quarter: (H) Jack Johnson 11-yard pass to Kevin Shea, C. Egan 2pt rush; (F) Liam Foley 32-yard pass to Rob Fay, 2pt conversion failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (H) J. Bearden 9-yard rush, 2pt conversion failed.

Franklin, 34 vs. Andover, 10 – Final
1st Quarter: (A) Field goal good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Sean Hofferty 1-yard rush, Parker Chevront XP good; (F) Nick Gordon 1-yard rush, P. Chevront XP good; (F) Austin Jordan 44-yard interception return, P. Chevront XP good.
3rd Quarter: (A) 1-yard rush, XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) N. Gordon 66-yard rush, P. Chevront XP good; (F) Jack Nally 4-yard rush, P. Chevront XP good.

Mansfield, 21 @ BC High, 7 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.
1st Quarter: (M) Damani Scott 18-yard pass to Nick Marciano, Nico Holmes XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (BCH) Jacob Perez 12-yard rush, XP good; (M) Cincere Gill 18-yard rush, N. Holmes XP good; (M) C. Gill 4-yard rush, N. Holmes XP good.

Oliver Ames, 19 @ Concord-Carlisle, 20 – Final
1st Quarter: (OA) Cam Perron 20-yard pass to Nathan Cabral, C. Perron XP good; (OA) N. Cabral 12-yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (CC) Christian Gemeli 17-yard rush, XP failed; (CC) C. Gemeli 27-yard pass to Cam Ladd, XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (CC) C. Ladd 20-yard rush, XP failed; (OA) C. Perron pass to Shane Kilkelly, 2pt conversion failed.

Sharon, 7 @ Nauset, 6 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (S) Aaron Strong 25-yard rush, Mitchell Director XP good.
4th Quarter: (N) 50-yard pass, XP failed.

Stoughton, 43 @ Framingham, 22 – Final
1st Quarter: (S) Jeff Grier 86-yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (S) Chris Ais 10-yard rush, Malachi Green-Hightower 2pt rush; (F) Jack Beverly 41-yard pass to RJ Viele, J. Beverly 2pt pass to Dante Marino.
3rd Quarter: (S) J. Grier 5-yard rush, M. Green-Higtower 2pt rush; (S) Anthony Burke 20-yard pass to J. Grier, Josh Cocchi XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) J. Beverly 29-yard to Gabe Paixao, J. Beverly 2pt pass to R. Viele; (S) M. Green-Higtower 1-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good; (S) J. Cocchi 25-yard interception return, J. Cocchi XP good. (F) Reece LaChance 5-yard rush, 2pt failed.

Taunton, 7 @ New Bedford, 6 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (NB) Latrell Canto 10-yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 65-yard pass to Brayden Merrill, Coby Adams XP good.

Boys Soccer
Milford, 2 @ Franklin, 1 – FinalMilford junior Walisson de Oliveira scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with under 10 minutes to go, to lift the Hawks to a win on the road. de Oliveira opened the scoring off an assist from Anthony Salvador but Franklin freshman Terry O’Neill tied the game just before halftime. de Oliveira scored the unassisted game-winner with seven minutes to play.

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – FinalKing Philip sophomore Camron Lawrence bagged a brace to lead the Warriors to their first win of the season. After Zac White drew a foul at the top of the box, Lawrence placed his shot back post to put KP up 1-0. With Sharon pushing numbers late to tie it, KP intercepted a pass and Lawrence was able to place a shot into the empty net to seal the deal in the 78th minute.

Mansfield, 4 vs. Dartmouth, 1 – FinalMansfield senior Luke Savoie scored a hat trick for the second straight game as the Hornets dispatched of visiting Dartmouth. Junior Owen Mullahy opened the scoring for the Hornets just two minutes into the game, finishing off a free kick from Derek Meuth. The Hornets doubled their lead when Savoie scored off a long throw from Cam Eddy. Dartmouth cut the deficit to one at half but Mansfield added two more in the second half. Savoie headed in a feed from Ethan Brill-Cass and completed the hat trick with seven minutes to go, scoring off Tommy Lanzillo’s free kick. Anthony Salisbury made 11 saves in net for Mansfield.

North Attleboro, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro jumped ahead just before the midway point of the first half but Taunton found the equalizer in the 66th minute to earn a point. Gerson Bonilla cleaned up a rebound in the 18th minute to put the Rocketeers up. Joe Hilf’s header was denied on a terrific save by Taunton goalie Nolan Melo but Bonilla buried his chance. In the 66th minute, Taunton’s Colby Fernandes took advantage of a turnover and used a volley to bring the Tigers level. Kyle Briere made three saves for North Attleboro.

Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo Gallery of this game.

Girls Soccer
Franklin, 4 @ Milford, 0 – FinalErin Quaile, Calen Frongillo, Carly Alston, and Sydney St. Marie each scored in the first half to put Franklin in control of its season opener. Grace Gallo and Halle Atkinson each had assists in the win.

King Philip, 6 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalChloe Layne opened her account for the season and finished with a hat trick, while Avery Snead scored two and assisted on two others, as KP got its first win of the season. Makayla Griffin added a goal and two assists and Lauren Anderson had a pair of assists in the win. Sophia McLaughlin earned the clean sheet in net. KP finished with 17 shots in the game.

Field Hockey
Foxboro, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 12 – FinalKing Philip opened its season with a big win at home over visiting Sharon. Senior Alli Meehan had four goals and three assists, freshman Meghan MacDonald netted a hat trick and added two assists and Olivia Kulesza scored three goals for the Warriors.

Volleyball
Foxboro, 1 @ Tri-County, 3 – Final

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip began its 2018 season with a 3-0 sweep of Sharon (25-17, 25-12, 25-14). Catherine Waldeck had 10 kills for the Warriors while Nicole Coughlan added four kills and three aces. Kat Kmetz finished with three kills, three aces, and 18 service points and Grace Ely added three aces, three kills, and six service points.

Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – FinalOliver Ames bounced back from its season-opening loss to earn a win over visiting Bridgewater-Raynham (25-17, 25-15, 25-16). Senior defensive specialist Grace McCallum had a strong game for the Tigers with six digs, five aces and two kills. Senior Sadie Homer added 18 digs, junior Allie Kemp finished with 21 assists and three aces, and junior Jordan Bosse put down 11 kills with two aces.

Golf
North Attleboro, 172 @ Foxboro, 177 – FinalNorth Attleboro’s Jillian Barend earned medalist honors for the Rocketeers, carding a team-low round of 40.

Attleboro, 174 @ King Philip, 163 – Final

Taunton, 92 @ New Bedford, 77 – Final (Stableford) – Taunton’s Kyle Robinson had a team-best round of 43 to pace the Tigers to a win at the Whaling City Golf Club. Spencer Andrews and Sean Bunker each shot 45 to help Taunton.

Black Knights Clamp Down on the Hawks for Road Win

Stoughton football
Malachi Green-Hightower (52) leads the way for Justin Ly (3) on what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown late in the first half against Milford. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – Twenty minutes into Friday night’s regular season finale at Milford High, Stoughton had only managed three first downs. Another short drive came to a close after Jonathan Medina was sacked by several Hawks and offensive lineman Malachi Green-Hightower was forced to jump on a fumble to keep the possession alive.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Paul Feeney hit a towering punt downfield towards Ryan O’Toole, who was unable to come up with it cleanly. Matthew Hadley pounced on the loose ball and put the Black Knights at the Milford 25. On the next play, Justin Ly bounced outside the tackle and raced down the Milford sideline for a 25-yard score with 1:31 left in the first half.

The score turned out to be the game-winner, as the Black Knights defense smothered the Milford offense, limiting the Hawks to only eight first downs in the game (only three in the second half), in a 14-3 victory that sets up a three-way tie for second place in the Davenport division and most likely a home game for Stoughton in the Div. 3 South playoffs.

“That’s a good team,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke, “they played very hard, and they’ve been excellent the last couple weeks and luckily we got them and I’m glad we did it by running the football.”

The Black Knights were without starting quarterback Evan Gibb, who was injured in the loss to North Attleboro, and Burke praised Medina (2-6, 25 yards) for managing the game. Burke said, “You’ve got to make some tough plays and the toughest job, he did a great job for us, was our quarterback. The kid hasn’t played a lot and…everything’s a little different.”

Milford started the game in a spread formation with sophomore Colby Pires (7-16, 118 yards) in the shotgun. On the first possession of the game, Pires hit Shapel Feaster for 20 yards and the Hawks moved the ball into Stoughton territory, but on fourth and nine Pires scrambled and hit Lucas Rosa for eight yards and the drive stalled at the Black Knights 29.

On the second possession, backed up to their own 11, the Hawks hit their biggest play of the game. Pires looked deep down the near sideline to Joey Everett, a senior who transferred in from St. George’s School (Newport, R.I.) midway through the season, and the wideout made an incredible 41-yard catch just keeping a foot in bounds. On the next play, Pires was intercepted by Ryan Semler.

“When you have three turnovers and a muffed punt deep in your own end, it’s hard to get anything going,” said first-year Milford coach Anthony Vizakis. “We tried our spread, we tried our war, they did a really great job. They have a great defense.”

Vizakis admitted that the touchdown before halftime was a turning point. He said, “Unfortunately, sometimes all it takes is one play. We were hoping to put a drive together and we had some things ready to go, but you could feel the momentum shift. Against a tough team like that, it’s hard to come back from it.”

The Black Knights went into the locker room with energy after the late touchdown, but in the end both defenses were too strong to keep the momentum going. A sack by Josh Ligor ended the second Stoughton possession of the third quarter and gave Milford the ball back at its own 30.

The Hawks turned to junior Ryan Pearl at quarterback in a compact power set that worked the week before in the comeback win over Foxboro. A six-yard completion to Will Pointer got a rare third down conversion for a first down and Pointer followed it with a 20-yard burst around the end. Once again the drive stalled, but Milford turned to junior kicker Sean Lehane, who split the upright with a 46-yard boot (with room to spare) that cut the lead to 7-3.

“He’s unreal,” said Vizakis of Lehane. “That’s automatic for him. He kicks 50-55 [yards] in practice and I think we have to utilize him even more when we’re close. He’s clutch.”

The home crowd was starting to get into it, especially after Ruben Gonzalez was stopped on the kick-off return at his own 17, but the Black Knights settled down and put together the best drive of the game.

Alex Sjoquist (15 carries, 91 yards) was the main threat, getting the ball eight times during a 13-play, 83-yard march that took seven minutes off the clock and sealed the win. The big play was a 41-yard burst straight up the middle from Sjoquist that Tyler Joyce kept from being a touchdown with a diving, shoestring tackle. In the end, Sjoquist plunged into the end zone with a three-yard score.

Any hope of another late comeback by the Hawks was dashed by a Colin Sanda interception.

Burke said of the team’s ability to matchup with Milford’s bunch sets, “We got hurt a little bit but…we worked very hard at that all week. It’s a very effective offense, if you get one long play. You’re in tight, so they’re hoping someone cracks one and gets out. So, you have to really protect against the bounce out.”

Despite the defeat, it looks like Milford (3-4, 3-2) has qualified for the Div. 3 South playoffs and could face possible trips to North Attleboro, Duxbury or Hingham. Vizakis is proud of how far the Hawks have come from the opening game of the season.

He said, “We’re 100 percent getting better every week and that’s what we tell them, get better every day. The kids are improving, they’re getting more comfortable in the system, and once we see where we fall in the playoff bracket we’ll be ready to go next week.”

Stoughton (5-2, 3-2) appears to be in line for the third or fourth seed in Div. 3 South.

Burke said, “We’re 5-2 with a couple of our starters out…and I’m just happy we’re getting in the playoffs for our fourth consecutive year. I don’t know, if you had said at the beginning of the year that we’d be 5-2 I would’ve called you crazy, but that’s the type of kids I have, tough kids.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.