Milton Football prepares for 7A Playoffs as a 2 seed
November 8, 2017
After a resounding 49-17 win over North Forsyth last Friday, Milton is slotted as a 2 seed in the 2017 GHSA 7A Playoffs. The Eagles will be facing off with the Collins Hill Eagles in the first round on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Milton Stadium.
The GHSA Class 7A Championship Bracket has a total of 32 teams participating in games spanning from Nov. 10 through Dec. 9. The top four teams (based on their in-region records) from each of the eight Class 7A regions will be included except for region one, which will have three schools participating and their remaining slot taken by an at-large bid. That bid will feature the team with the best record out of the schools not already in the field.
The bracket is split up into four sections with one representative from each region (besides region one) in each. The teams will square off against one another with the winner advancing onwards and the loser going home.
As the second best team coming out of region five, Milton begins in the top left corner of the bracket against Collins Hill, who is the third ranked team coming from region 6.
Collins Hill comes into this game with a 6-4 overall record after cruising to an easy 34-12 victory over Peachtree Ridge (2-8) last week. The Gwinnet team uses a punishing rushing attack that averages rougly 250 yards per game and is headlined by star running back Evan Anderson. The senior leads the team with 1,111 yards on the season and 13 touchdowns, and he is also the team’s second leading receiver. Fellow senior Najji Germana has also added 500 yards and 5 TDs of his own to form a nice backfield duo with Anderson. QB Jon-Micheal Finley has thrown for a mere 739 yards and 4 TDs on the year, so it is clear that Milton will need to load the box against the one-dimensional Collins Hill offense.
In addition to that punishing rushing attack, Collins Hill boasts a stout defense that has only allowed a team to score more than 23 points in a game twice. That unit is headlined by a trio of talented linebackers that lead the team in tackles. Senior Kenneth Lowery is the leader of the defense from his middle linebacker spot and leads the unit with 78 tackles, fellow senior Jomier Augustine is just behind with 74, while hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Jared Bartlett has 71 total tackles.
However, the defense was exposed in those previously mentioned two games as they gave up 45 points to North Gwinnet and Mill Creek earlier in the season. This implies that the defense may struggle against higher competition as those two teams have a combined record of 16-4. North Gwinnet torched the Collins Hill secondary for 238 yards and 3 TDs through the air while Mill Creek ran for 251 yards and 3 scores to beat the Eagles.
It’s very clear that whoever can win the battle at the line of scrimmage will have a major edge in this matchup with both sides relying very heavily on their respective running games. Milton should look to continue the balance on offense that they have enjoyed all season behind their 1,000 yard rusher Solomon Vanhorse and dual-threat QB Jordan Yates. Those two have kept defenses on their heels the entire season and are very capable of exposing a Collins Hill defense that has played poorly against higher level competition.
The strength of Milton’s defense is a strong defensive line and linebacking core, which bodes very well for the home team due to how much Collins Hill relies on their running game and winning the battle up front. Seniors George Coyle, Price Townes and junior Jordan Davis should all have big games from their linebacker spots with the Collins Hill running backs coming their way the entire game. If Milton’s defensive line can get some good push up front and hold Collins Hill to less than their 250.8 yards per game average on the ground, CHHS will be forced to throw more often than they are comfortable with and in turn struggle to score on the road.
With the way in which Collins Hill has played against high level opponents and the 3 game winning streak that Milton is currently on, our Eagles should take this one fairly easily. Jordan Yates and Solomon Vanhorse should have another solid day running the ball which will make Collins Hill vulnerable for some deep shots that Yates and his receivers have been hitting all season. The home field advantage and the energy of a team that has not won a playoff game in 2 years should give Milton enough momentum to advance to the next round to play the winner of Brookwood (8-2) and South Gwinnet (3-7).