SNELLVILLE, Ga. — One of the most successful seasons in Milton’s 68-year program concluded Friday night in a tough battle against Region 7 champions Brookwood. Milton fell 28-23.
Though the Broncos led majority of the game, the Eagles continued to fight to the last minute. That was the ultimate takeaway for first-year head coach Adam Clack.
“That embodied what this team has been all year,” he said. “They never quit and I was so proud of that.”
It was a frustrating loss though as the two teams matched up in almost every statistical category.
Both teams had just over 390 yards of total offense. Less than a minute separated their time of possession. Both teams incurred five penalties. Milton was 6-13 on third down while the Broncos went 6-12. Both teams scored on three trips to the red zone. There was just one turnover, an interception, that went in Milton’s favor.
“It turned out to be a classic matchup we felt it was going to be,” Clack said. “We just came up a few minutes short.”
Trailing 21-10 in the fourth quarter, Milton capped off a 17-play, 85-yard drive with a rushing touchdown from Solomon Vanhorse to cut the lead to a single score. But a 50-yard touchdown pass from Brookwood’s Dante Black to Angelo DeSpigna extended the Broncos lead to 28-16 with two minutes remaining.
The Eagles then drove 79 yards in just 50 seconds — scoring on a Dash Hairston touchdown reception —to give Milton hopes of a comeback.
But as Clack said, the Eagles fell just a few minutes short.
On the onside kick attempt, a Milton player touched the ball before it had traveled the necessary 10 yards, allowing Brookwood to take possession and run out the clock.
“Our kids played their tails off and theirs did too,” Clack said. “It was just one of those nights.”
Jordan Yates was 14-25 passing for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the leading rusher with 90 yards, followed by Vanhorse with 77.
Dash Hairston led receivers with six receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown, followed by Syaire Waters with three for 67 yards and a touchdown.
The loss brought an end to the careers of Milton’s seniors, which Clack called an incredible class.
“What I love about football and my profession is that you put 16 and 17-year-olds in a situation where they have to respond,” he said. “They accepted this transition, me and my coaching staff, in a way that was we were going to go forward no matter what.”
That leadership brought the team to a 9-3 record and the second round of the playoffs for just the third time in program history in Class 7A, what Clack called arguably some of the toughest football in the nation.
“If it weren’t for those seniors it would have been a completely different season,” he said.
With Friday night serving as the first day of the 2018 season, Clack’s confidence is high for the Eagles’ program.
“Now we begin,” he said. “That’s our rallying cry right now. I really believe we’re building something special here at Milton and this season set the bar extremely high. I’m excited about raising that bar next year.”