Pictured: Garrett Smalley (21), Bryce Thornton (7), Owen Pauley (11), Cam Canion (22) (Josh Major)
Pictured: Garrett Smalley (21), Bryce Thornton (7), Owen Pauley (11), Cam Canion (22)

Josh Major

Milton’s Remarkable 2020 Season

December 18, 2020

Last Friday night, Milton’s outstanding season came to a devastating end by means of a 23-13 loss against Lowndes. The game was close the entire way until the fourth quarter when Lowndes scored 16 unanswered points. Despite a late comeback attempt from Milton, the Eagles were unable to pull ahead. However, this season by far was a great one. The 2020 Milton Eagles will go down as one of the best teams in school history.

Season Recap and Awards

This year Milton finished with a record of 11-1 (5-0 region record) and a perfect regular season, a feat last accomplished in 1952. With Milton’s region championship this year, it marks the third region championship in three years. The Eagles finished with a perfect record amongst their rivals with a 35-20 win against Alpharetta and a 20-14 win against Roswell. Over the span of the last three years, Milton has kept a perfect region record going 15-0 in two different regions. Non-region play was quite nice to the Eagles this year as they won all four of their games against Johns Creek, Hapeville Charter, Cedar Grove (forfeit), and McEachern. Terrific region play also helped Milton secure their fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs and ended their trip in the quarterfinals.

Battle with Coronavirus

Like many teams in the state, Milton had their hands full with the dreaded Coronavirus. The virus cut spring practice off and much of summer practice as well. However, it was the coaching staff that took advantage, prepared well, and got all the players ready for the fall season. Fortunately, the team was able to avoid any regular-season game cancellations, something that not many teams around the state were blessed with. Before the season Milton’s non-region opponents shuffled around before finally setting the non-region slate. All in all, the Eagles did great against the virus as shown by a completed full season even a trip to the playoffs.

Final Stats

This year Milton’s clear starter at Quarterback was Junior Devin Farrell. Farrell finished the year with 125 completions for 1813 yards passing, 101 carries for 561 rushing yards, 18 total TDs, and three INTs. Junior Adam Freas also saw some action at Quarterback in a few games. Freas finished with seven completions for 71 passing yards, 18 rushes for 91 rushing yards, two TDs, and two INTs

Throughout the season Milton’s number one back was Junior Jordan McDonald. McDonald finished with 211 rushes for 1346 yards, 6.6 yards per carry, six games over 100 yards, and 25 total TDs. Later in the year, the offense ran Sophomore Bryce Thornton as back number 2. Thornton finished with 36 carries for 261 yards, 6.5 yards per carry, and one touchdown. Milton’s number three back was Sophomore Jared Stephens. Stephens finished with 60 carries for 168 yards and 2.8 yards per carry.

This season Milton’s leading receiver was Freshman sensation Debron Gatling. Gatling finished with 21 receptions for 337 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Adam Freas ended with 24 receptions for 313 yards and one touchdown. Senior Matt Evert recorded 20 receptions for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Jack Nickel had 22 receptions for 300 yards and one touchdown. Junior Brooks Bortle finished with eight receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. Senior Daniel Black ended with 6 receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore Lebbeus Overton caught three balls for 72 yards and one touchdown. Senior Max St. Vrain ended with three receptions for 33 yards and one touchdown.

This year’s Milton defense exceeded expectations. One of the questions going into this year is how will the defense respond after losing key leaders and Seniors. Well, they blew expectations out of the water after having a high performing season. Junior Linebacker Dylan Miller ended with 89 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception. Junior Linebacker AJ Crawford had 81 tackles, and four tackles for loss. Sophomore Defensive end Lebbeus Overton finished with 70 tackles, 38 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, and six forced fumbles. Senior Defensive end Dayne Edwards recorded 55 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, and one blocked punt. Junior Linebacker Owen Pauley finished with 52 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one interception. Senior Safety Garrett Smalley had 48 tackles and one interception. Junior Safety Zyere Hornton recorded 44 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Senior Defensive lineman Connor Gay ended with 39 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, and two fumble recoveries. Sophomore Cornerback Bryce Thornton had 32 tackles, one tackle for loss, three interceptions, and one fumble recovery. Junior Cornerback Cam Canion recorded 28 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, one kick return touchdown, and one fumble recovery. Senior Linebacker Mason Bicknell ended with 25 tackles and two tackles for loss. Senior Defensive lineman Zack Tumminia finished with 23 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Senior Defensive end Brendan Doyle finished with 17 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Way to Early Preview for Next Year

Next year Milton has a real legitimate shot at making the State Championship. A lot of powerhouses such as Colquitt, Lowndes, and Grayson will be losing many key playmakers and Seniors. However, that same issue will not affect Milton as hard as others. Yes, the Eagles will lose some key players and Seniors, but the upcoming classes are looking stronger than ever. Another region championship should be on its way back to Milton next year as well, but it’s the deep playoff run that Milton is thriving for.

Player Awards

Offensive Player of the Year- Jordan McDonald

Defensive Player of the Year- Lebbeus Overton

Special Teams Player of the Year- Jason Aussin

 

With that, I want to thank all of my readers and supporters who helped me throughout this year. I can not wait to cover Eagle football again starting next August.

Stay safe Eagle Nation,

 

Jackson Thacker

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