Spartans conquer Sabers

AMHERST – In order to earn a 14-7 victory on Friday night at Souhegan High School, the Milford football team had to stand tall defensively, making two stands on fourth-and-goal from within the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter, one of them with just six seconds remaining.

Those clutch performances by the defense were enough to give the Spartans their second win in the season’s first three games and left their coach, Keith Jones, duly impressed.

“One of the greatest football games I have ever been involved in,” Jones said. “It was a slugfest back and forth. I am glad I was on the right end of it in the 12th round.”

The Sabers (1-1) put themselves on the scoreboard first when junior running back Cameron Kinney found the end zone from 1 yard out. Senior kicker Alex Bedard added the extra point to give the Sabers a 7-0 lead with 6:28 left in the half.

Kinney made a 65-yard run on the first play of that scoring drive, bringing the Sabers to the Spartans 15-yard line.

Milford responded when junior quarterback Max Urda found junior running back Mark Madigan for a 15-yard touchdown completion and junior Jack Briggs added the extra point with 1:35 left in the opening half.

That was (a great) drive by the kids that ate up a lot of clock,” Jones said.

Then, on the first drive of the second half, the Spartans registered what stood up as the decisive score when senior running back Dustin Post went in from 1 yard out, with Briggs’ tacking on the extra point.

“Then to come out in the second half and put one in right out of the gates (was great),” Jones said. “I think we got a little help on a pass interference call but it was a tribute to the kids, they hung tough the whole night and they never gave up. Both teams, you can’t say enough, Souhegan deserved to win that game just as much as we did.”

The Sabers would not go quietly though as right after the Spartans went up 14-7 on the following kickoff, junior Zachary Bossi would return it 70 yards to setup the Sabers on the Spartans 15 yard line. The Spartans would eventually force a turnover on downs after the Sabers failed to convert a fourth-and-12.

The Sabers would then rattle off a 17-play drive (one play in the third quarter and 16 plays in the fourth quarter) that included converting on a fourth-and-4 play, before being stymied by the Milford defense’s first rejection from the 5.

Souhegan started its last drive from the Milford 47 yard line with 1:59 left. The Sabers again got deep into the red zone, finally fourth and goal play on the 4 yard line with 6 seconds left to go in the game after junior Brendan Cray ran 23 yards on a fourth down and five play to get the Sabers to the Spartans 5 yard line.

The game ended with the Sabers fumbling the ball on the last play and Milford recovering in its own end zone as time expired.

“Defensively, I thought we played great all night,” Jones. said “We gave up a couple of big plays, a couple miscues but other than that I thought we pretty much played like we thought we could play.”