By Bill Albright
The Daily Item
JERSEY SHORE —
For the first 21 minutes of Friday night’s HAC-I matchup between Milton and Jersey Shore, the game belonged to the Bulldogs as they scored the game’s first 17 points.
However, facing the 17-point deficit, the Black Panthers shook off the cobwebs and went on the prowl as they scored the final 31 points of the game for a hard-fought, come-from-behind 31-17 win.
“They are a good football team and I told our kids that,” said Milton coach George Goodwin of the Bulldogs. “It is real tough to spot anybody 17 points and come back so I want to give our kids a heck of lot of credit because they continued to battle and chip away (at the deficit) until we got it done.”
Both teams started slow as the Bulldogs (0-9) fumbled three times in the first quarter and two more in the second, while Milton (5-4) quarterback Brady Chappell was the victim of three dropped passes that could have led to big plays.
“He (Chappell) put the ball right on the money and deserved better results,” said Goodwin. “We are really banged up at this point of the season. We have a lot of guys hurt and that forced us to juggle a lot of people around into different positions, not just offensively, but defensively as well. I think it took some of them a little time to adjust to the game speed, but when they did, they stepped up to play.”
Controlling both sides of the line of scrimmge, the Bulldogs built up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns by quarterback Jordan Tawney on runs of 10 and four yards. a field goal by Zac Velez made it 17-0.
Following Velez’s field goal, the Black Panthers took only two plays to get on the board when Chappell tossed his first of three touchdowns, a 62-yard pitch-and-catch with Jarred Fogelman.
Milton scored the only points of the third quarter when Jayson English was on the receiving end of a 40-yard strike by Chappell and just like that with their second two-point conversion.
Taking over on their own 39-yard line later in the third period, the Panthers put together a quick-strike drive of six plays culminated by Chappell’s third TD pass on the second play of the final period, a 10-yard effort to Grant Wargo.
If the Milton defense hadn’t taken control of the game previously, they did down the stretch as the Panthers picked off three Jersey Shore passes to hold the Bulldogs at bay.
With his team leading 24-17, Fogelman — who rushed for 124 yards on 17 lugs and caught three passes for another 84 yards — put the nail in the Jersey Shore coffin.