Freedom Bowl Presents New Challenge For Milton Football


Parker Gillam, Sports Editor

What the event is: The inaugural Freedom Bowl, a six-game event that invites 12 elite High School football teams to play over Labor Day Weekend, will be hosted by Milton. The goal of the event is to raise awareness and proceeds for wounded soldiers from the United States military. Coaches and athletes will be able to meet with and learn from military personnel that are in leadership positions.

The event will also see Stoneman Douglas High School’s team take the field for the first time since the tragic shooting that happened at the school last February.

The two-day event will feature six games over Friday and Saturday, and features two teams from Georgia (North Gwinnet and Milton), six schools from Florida, one from Canada, two from Alabama and one from New Jersey.


List of scheduled games:

Friday, 5:00 p.m. | Bob Jones (AL) vs. Daytona Mayfield (FL)

Friday, 8:30 p.m. | Milton (GA) vs. Cardinal Gibbons (FL)

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. | Muscle Shoals (AL) vs. Chaminad-Madonna (FL)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. | St. Joseph’s (NJ) vs. American Heritage (FL)

Saturday, 5:00 p.m. | St. Matthews (CA) vs. Stoneman Douglas (FL)

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. | North Gwinnett (GA) vs. Wekiva (FL)


Cardinal Gibbons Preview: Hailing from the Broward Region of Florida’s High School Football system, Cardinal Gibbons travels to Milton ranked as the 33rd best team in the nation and the sixth best team in Florida (via The Chiefs dropped their season opener to Central (FL) by a score of 48-21 in a bit of a disappointing start to their 2018 campaign. Cardinal Gibbons was down by one touchdown entering the fourth quarter, but proceeded to allow Central to score 20 unanswered points in what turned into a blowout.

Despite that result, the Chiefs are still an extremely talented team that relies upon a couple of seniors to lead the charge. Quarterback (QB) Nik Scalzo had nearly 200 yards of total offense and two touchdowns (TDs) in the Chiefs’s opener. Scalzo is a three-star recruit who is already committed to play college football at Kentucky. Fellow senior, running back (RB) Vincent Davis, had 32 yards and one TD last week, and he and Scalzo combine to form a solid one-two punch in the running game. Davis is also a three-star recruit and is committed to play at Pittsburgh. Senior Chris Benestad had four catches for 96 yards and a TD in the game against Central, and he enters this one as the Chiefs’ top target at wideout. After allowing 40 points in their opener, it’s safe to assume that Cardinal Gibbon’s coaching staff would love to see more out their defense against Milton. Hybrid senior linebackers Yahweh Jeudy and Trevis Robinson combined for 20 tackles and three tackles for a loss against Central.

Milton junior linebacker Stephen Michaels sees Cardinal Gibbons as “A great opponent” and is “Really excited for the opportunity to play against them this Friday”. The same sort of feeling can be detected from the rest of the Milton coaching staff and roster, as the chance to play an out-of-state opponent is always a great test for a program.

Milton’s Game Prediction: Milton is riding a lot of positive momentum heading into what may be their toughest game to date this season. Cardinal Gibbons presents a unique challenge with their elite athletes and talent, but the Eagles have proven that they can win intense games thus far. QB Jordan Yates has gotten out to a hot start (nearly 600 total yards and six TDs in two games), but the play of RBs Jordan Edwards and Joshua Edwards and wide receiver (WR) Jordan Cox has taken a lot of pressure off Yates in the Eagles’ first two victories. Defensively, the unit as a whole has been stout thus far in big wins over Archer and Alpharetta.

This game may present some new problems for Milton, however. The Chief’s athletic and talented front seven will challenge what is a run-first offense for Milton. Therefore, attacking this team vertically early on to take some defensive backs and linebackers out of the box may be in order.

Milton WR Jordan Cox, coming off of a 126 yard performance against Alpharetta, can be the difference maker. Cardinal Gibbons only has one cornerback coming in at over 6”0, and Cox measures in at 6”3. He could prove to be a matchup nightmare, like he was against Alpharetta, if the Eagles can get him in some one-on-one situations.

Score Prediction: Milton 27 | Cardinal Gibbons 24

Game MVP: Jordan Yates | QB | Milton