Milton kicks off playoff run against Central Gwinnett
November 14, 2019
With a state championship in 2018 already under their belt, Milton now has high expectations for another deep playoff run in 2019. The Eagles managed to finish with a record of 7-3 in the regular season and went undefeated in regional play, earning them the top seed and home-field advantage for at least two games. The first of hopefully many playoff matchups will take place this Friday at 7:30 in the Eagles Nest. Milton will be playing host to the Central Gwinnett Black Knights (2-8).
*In other news, it has recently been announced by the GHSA that Milton will be moving into a different 7-A region beginning in 2020. The region will feature, Roswell, Alpharetta, Etowah, Woodstock and Cherokee.
Central Gwinnett Statistical Leaders
Skylar Adams (Senior, QB): 175/296, 2,861 yards, 27 TDs, 4 rushing TDs, .591 completion %
Justin Wilkins (Senior, RB): 120 carries, 795 yards, 10 TDs, 6.6 yards per carry
Daejon Reynolds (Junior, WR): 83 catches, 1,381 yards, 13 TDs, 16.6 yards per catch
Jayoland Threat (Junior, OLB): 46 solo tackles, 83 total tackles, 8 TFLs, 1 sack
Central Gwinnett Team Preview
Central Gwinnett has had a season of ups and downs, with three wins and seven losses and almost every one of those games being decided in blowout fashion. However, the Black Knights are still dangerous. They have a high powered offense led by junior wide receiver Daejon Reynolds. Reynolds already has surpassed the 1,000 yard mark on the season to go along with 13 touchdowns and is a deadly vertical threat. The Black Knights have a strong running back in senior Justin Wilkins who has ran for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. Senior QB Skylar Adams is a two-sport star (basketball/football) and averages 317.9 yards per game through the air.
However, many of Central Gwinnett’s struggles stem from the defense. The Black Knights allow 300 passing yards per game and give up 123 yards on the ground. They have only 9 sacks and 13 takeaways in 2019, which both rank far below the national average. Jayoland Threat leads the defensive charge with 83 tackles, but Dajeon Reynolds, who plays on both sides of the ball, is second on the team with 61.
Milton has played exceptionally well over the course of region play, going 5-0 for the second year in a row. Milton has greatly improved the passing game, as sophomore quarterback Devin Farrell has taken over the starting role in recent weeks. Farrell has roughly 800 passing yards on the season. Senior receiver Jake Walter and sophomore Jack Nickel lead with over 200 receiving yards each. Milton’s rushing game has has been key to their success, however. Milton’s leading rusher Ahmad Junearick has accounted for over 900 yards and 13 touchdowns on 140 carries. Devin Farrell has put his dual-threat abilities on display, having rushed for 695 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Milton’s defense has never looked better, as they have not let up more than 10 points in their past five games.. The defensive front is led by senior Jonathan Pittman, who has 35 tackles and 17 tackles for loss. Senior safety Jack Rhodes, a Furman commit, has shut down opposing receivers and accounted for 66 total tackles.
If Milton is to survive their first round bout with Central Gwinnett, they would then face the winner of the Marietta (8-2) vs. Camden County (8-2) matchup. Neither of these teams would be an easy out for the Eagles.
Marietta features a dynamic offensive duo in seniors quarterback Harrison Bailey and tight end Arik Gilbert. Bailey is a 4-star commit to Tennessee, while Gilbert recently commited to LSU and is the #1 rated tight end in the country by most major recruiting sites. At 6”5, 253 lbs, Gilbert is a matchup nightmare for any opposing defense, and he leads the Blue Devils with over 1,200 yards receiving and 14 TDs. Camden County, although they lost two out of their last three games by a combined 49 points, still managed to be very competitive in arguably the toughest region in 7-A play (region features Lowndes, Colquitt County). They rank among the best in the state of Georgia in total sacks and negative plays forced.
With a win in round two over either of those teams, there is a variety of squads Milton could square off with in the quarterfinals. The winner of the Mill Creek-Newton game would be a tough potential opponent, but the team that jumps off the bracket is Roswell.
The rival Hornets (7-2) managed to secure the first seed within their region, and if they take down Wheeler and Newton/Mill Creek, they would be set up against Milton with a spot in the 7-A semifinals at stake. We could get a round two of one of the best rivalries in Georgia, this time with championship implications on the line.
If Milton returns to the semifinals this season, they would likely take on either West Lake (6-4), Colquitt County (8-2) or Parkview (9-1). We all know that the Eagles took on Colquitt in last season’s State Championship Game and pulled off a miraculous upset, and Parkview has already defeated Milton earlier this year. Plenty of storylines could emerge in some of these matchups.
In terms of who Milton could see in the title game, football powerhouses Grayson, McEachern and Lowndes County are among the favorites to emerge from the other side of the bracket.
Parker: Milton 38 | Central Gwinnett 21 Jackson: Milton 35 | Central Gwinnett 17
Parker: Round two exit against Marietta. Jackson: Round two exit against Marietta.