MILTON, Ga. — In his debut game with Milton, head coach Adam Clack told his players at halftime to have trust in their teammates. Specifically, he told his defense to trust that the offensive would take the pressure of them in the second half.
“[Alpharetta] was getting the best of us in the first half,” Clack said. “But we kept telling the defense, if you keep doing your job, just trust that the offense is going to come around.”
And that they did.
Alpharetta had taken a 6-3 lead with a 38-yard field goal by Dylan Schorr as time expired in the second quarter after Milton was held to just 96 total yards in the half. But Milton’s defense, which Clack said kept the Eagles in the game the first two quarters, heeded his words of trust and held Alpharetta to a single field goal in the second half.
“That trust was on display tonight,” Clack said. “Without it, I don’t think we come away with a win.
Milton’s defense held the Raiders to 299 total yards. Alpharetta was just 3-18 on third down conversions and were held to two field goals on two trips to the red zone.
“We preach that we own the red zone,” Clack said. “To bend and not break and hold that talented team to three field goals, that’s probably what I’m most proud about the whole night.”
While its defense continued to stymie Alpharetta’s talented offense in the second half, Milton’s offense did come around, scoring four touchdowns and tripling its yardage output from the first half.
The Eagles rushed for 246 yards, led by Solomon Vanhorse with 112 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jordan Yates added 75 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown.
Yates was 8-16 through the air for 163 yards with a passing touchdown to Syaire Waters.
The Raiders certainly had their chances. Two catchable interceptions were dropped in their own red zone and a touchdown was called back due to a penalty. Jaycee Horn returned a punt for a touchdown early in the game, but the score was negated by a blindside block, a rule implemented this year by the GHSA.
Offensively, Alpharetta looked to move the ball methodically down the field on short plays, but Milton’s defense seemed to sniff out the majority of bubble screens and zone reads they faced.
Alpharetta quarterback Matthew Downing went 21-37 for 174 yards and led the Raiders in rushing yards with 70.
But the sole scores for Alpharetta would come from Schorr who went 3-3 on field goals from 38, 44 and 27 yards.
With Game 1 of the “Clack Era” now complete with a win over a rival, Clack said the team is still learning itself under his leadership and that there is much room for improvement. But he did say the team has continued to show progress, exemplified by Friday’s monumental win.
“Every time I watch these kids compete they are raising the bar,” he said. “I’m just so stinking proud of them.”