Bobcats edge Spartans for playoff spot
Milford’s 14-12 defeat stops strong season short of tourney
MILFORD – The Milford and Plymouth football teams entered Friday’s contest with similar offensive numbers, similar point differentials, and identical records. Therefore, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the two squads found themselves in a one-possession game for the entirety of this win-and-you’re-in contest.
A Teagan Vitali touchdown midway through the fourth quarter gave Milford a brief lead. However, Plymouth answered back with what turned out to be a 60-yard, game-winning touchdown – helping the Bobcats (7-2) secure a Division II playoff berth with a 14-12 victory over the Spartans (6-3), who just missed the postseason. Lebanon was the only 6-3 team to make the D-II tournament due to a better Football Point Rating.
Milford took six minutes off the clock to open the fourth quarter, capping its 53-yard drive with the Vitali touchdown to take a five-point lead. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Plymouth answered back two plays later, as Garrett Macomber broke multiple tackles for a 60-yard score, giving Plymouth a two-point advantage.
The Spartans still had five minutes on the clock to convert a game-winning drive, and the running game quickly picked up 25 yards. However, a sack and a botched snap forced a fourth-and-19 situation for the Spartans. Quarterback Zack King’s desperation pass landed incomplete. The Bobcats secured one final first down on the subsequent possession to secure the victory.
"It was a great high school football game," Milford coach Keith Jones said. "Both teams brought it and beat each other up. You don’t want to be on our end of it, but at the end of the day, they just made one more better play than us."
It was actually the Spartans that found themselves on the scoreboard first. Following a scoreless first with Ryan Camirand on a 16-yard touchdown pass towards the end of the secquarter, King connected ond quarter. The attempted two-point conversion failed, but Milford still took a six-point advantage into the half.
The Bobcats responded on their first drive of the third quarter. After two small gains to open the possession, Colby Moore broke multiple tackles and rumbled 59 yards into the end zone.
The Spartans had several golden opportunities to score throughout the game thanks to a pair of Plymouth fumbles. Unfortunately Milford continued to rack up penalties, finishing the contest with seven infractions for 50 yards.
"The kids left it all on the field. We made great plays when we needed to and we had some great drives," Jones said. "We just made some mental errors in key situations and we left points on the field."
The Milford running game had another solid outing, rushing for 243 total yards. T.J. Anderson led the attack with 65 yards, while Vitali and Dylan Salisbury each chipped in another 48 yards. The Plymouth running game was just as effective, as the Bobcats rushed for 256 yards on only 18 carries.