Spartans’ 41-21 win over Windham sets up 3-way tie in Division II South
WINDHAM – If the cloudy sky above wasn’t enough to darken Windham’s Senior Day festivities, Milford sure finished the job Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans beat the Jaguars 41-21, knocking the latter from the ranks of the unbeaten and leaving Milford and Windham in a three-way tie with Souhegan for the top spot in the Division II South Conference. All three teams are 6-1 heading into the regular season’s final week.
In a fast-paced first half, Windham opened the scoring on the game’s first possession. The Jaguars put together a seven-play, 57-yard drive – ignited when quarterback Griffin Lippold connected with Shane Laffond on a 25-yard pass. Four plays later Laffond capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, leaping over Milford defenders to reach the end zone.
Milford responded with a scoring drive of its own after falling on Windham’s onside kick attempt at midfield. The Spartans followed strong offensive line play to the Windham 24, before Mark Madigan broke to the outside on a counter play for a long touchdown run. A missed extra point attempt gave Windham a 7-6 first quarter lead with seven minutes to play in the first quarter.
When Windham’s subsequent drive was derailed by a block in the back penalty, coach Bill Raycraft reached into his bag of tricks and came out with a third down pooch punt on a running back sweep play by Shane Laffond. The nifty change in field position left Milford’s offense backed up to its own 14-yard line.
The Spartans responded with a drive that would come to symbolize their keys to victory.
Facing a second-and-7 deep in their own territory, quarterback Max Urda completed his first pass after rolling out to his right and hitting Jack Briggs for a 20-yard gain. Milford again leaned on their gritty offensive line with eight consecutive running plays, utilizing five different ball carriers before fullback Teagan Vitali powered his way across the goal line for a 13-7 Spartans lead.
The teams traded touchdowns for the remainder of the first half, ending on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Urda to Kirk Palladino with 44 seconds to play before the break. The score gave Milford 27- 21 lead at halftime. A lead the Spartans would never relinquish.
In the second half, the gritty play of the Spartans won out. Milford’s defense found its rhythm in pitching a shutout for the remaining two quarters and the offense continued to click with touchdown drives of 61 and 62 yards.
A great show of blocking from Milford’s offensive line on the day pushed the Spartans to 322 yards rushing, led by Vitali’s 122 and three touchdowns.
With the playoffs still up in the air, Friday night will see Milford closing out the regular season by hosting Manchester West, Windham traveling to Swanzey to face Monadnock and Souhegan welcoming Pelham to Amherst.
Souhegan scores road win vs. ConVal
PETERBOROUGH – Cam Kinney scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and Zach Bossi led Souhegan’s defense, as the Sabers went on to beat ConVal 39-21 Friday night.
Bossi had an interception return down to the ConVal 3-yard line to set up one of Kinney’s runs.