Pictured from left to right: Brandon Best (58), Mo Clipper Jr. (56), Wyatt Smalley (46), LT Overton (9) (Josh Major)
Pictured from left to right: Brandon Best (58), Mo Clipper Jr. (56), Wyatt Smalley (46), LT Overton (9)

Josh Major

Milton vs. Hapeville Charter: 2021 Season Kickoff

August 19, 2021

Milton GA- Finally, the dreaded off-season is over and high school football is back! After a phenomenal eleven-win season, the Milton Eagles are ready to kick off the 2021-2022 and take the next step to pursue a state championship. Last Thursday night Milton hosted the Westlake Lions in a scrimmage game where the Eagles prevailed 35-21 after the game was called off early in the fourth thanks to a lightning delay. Westlake, one of the better teams in 6A, provided a good challenge to the Eagles as they will see many similar opponents in the future.

This week Milton kicks off their season against the Hapeville Charter Hornets, a familiar foe. These teams faced off last year where Milton won the game by a score of 43-18. Both teams will be eager to hit the gridiron in this opening day matchup.

Hapeville Charter Impact Players

CB Quantaves Gaskins (Sr)

QB Sedrick Hill (So)

WR Derrick Maxey (Jr)

Last year Hapeville Charter finished with a 6-4 record including a second-round appearance in the second round of the state playoffs. Head coach Winston Gordon makes his return and leads the Hornets into their 2022 season campaign. This year Hapeville will kick off non-region with Milton, Woodward Academy, Pebblebrook and Heritage then begin region play.

Leading the Hornet offense is Sophomore quarterback Sedrick Hill. Hill, a typical pocket passer, does a nice job at hitting sideline passes and threading the ball in coverage. Running the ball is Junior Wayne’ Thompson. Thompson is extremely swifty, quick and a solid all-around back. Junior receiver Derrick Maxey very is athletic, making plays in physical situations. Junior receiver Krishon Lett is a big body receiver with a great pair of hands, reeling in every ball that comes his way.

Focusing on the defense you can find Hapeville’s best player Senior cornerback Quantaves Gaskins. Gaskins, a three-star prospect, with offers from Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, and Missouri. Gaskins is certainly a player to keep your eye on. Hapeville is a quite physical defense with a strong secondary core and linebackers.

Milton Impact Players

EDGE LT Overton Jr. (Jr)

QB Devin Farrell (Sr)

RB Jordan McDonald (Sr)

Leading the Eagles is seventh-year head coach Adam Clack. In addition to Clack, Milton returns nearly all of their coaching staff from the previous year. Milton’s veteran Seniors should prosper this year as they are well adjusted to Clack’s system and philosophy. In addition to Hapeville, Milton will play North Cobb, Life Christian Academy (Freedom Bowl), St. Joes Prep, and McEachern in the non-region. A tough non-region will test the Eagles for a deep playoff run.

On the offensive side is returning three-year starter quarterback Devin Farrell. Ranked as a three-star prospect, Farrell recently committed to Virginia Tech. Farrell, a dual-threat QB, will  test Hapeville’s discipline to committing to the run as well as the pass.

Senior running back Jordan McDonald returns as well. McDonald is listed as a three-star prospect with offers from Tennessee, UCF, and Charlotte. McDonald should have a huge year behind his huge offensive line. Bryce Thornton should see some time as running back in addition to McDonald. Thornton is a speed back, making defenders miss and prevailing forward with his quickness.

This year’s offensive line contains so much talent. The head of this unit is Senior Mo Clipper Jr., a three-star prospect committed to Tennessee. Next are Seniors Ben Hartman and Kayden Richardson; both are hard-working and physical blockers. Senior Brandon Best, listed as a three-star recruit committed to Georgia Tech. Tyhler Williams is the last player on the line; he currently has an offer from Middle Tennessee.

Milton’s lead returning receiver is Sophomore Debron Gatling. Gatling has offers from Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida State. Gatling uses his tall stature to his advantage by snagging balls and making tough, physical catches. Senior slot receiver Adam Freas showed out in last week’s scrimmage with one touchdown catch and many yards, showing fans he is capable of having a big year. Senior receiver Brooks Bortle should have a breakout year fitting his role in Milton’s offense. Milton welcomes two new faces at receiver Senior Jonathon Murdock and Sophomore Jordan “Bam” Bride. Jack Nickel returns as Tight End One. Nickel, a three-star recruit, flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to Michigan State over the off-season.

Year in and year out the Milton defense is known by one word: Dominant. Dominance is what this unit was built on and shows every Friday night. Like the offense, the defense returns many starters. The defensive line is led by Junior LT Overton, the number one player in his class with offers from Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M, Junior Wyatt Smalley, Senior Giles Tchio, and Junior Owen Phillips. This group will certainly wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines and blow-up plays.

The three Senior linebackers: Dylan Miller, AJ Crawford and Owen Pauley all return and look to make a big impact for this senior. This core led the team in tackles as well as turnovers from the previous year.

The secondary returns Senior safety Zyere Hornton, a Georgia Southern commit, Senior cornerback Cam Canion, Senior cornerback Brooks Bortle, Junior Cornerback Bryce Thornton, a three-star recruit with offers from Georgia, Miami (FL), and Ole Miss. The secondary will be key for the team’s success as they will face many great and elite quarterbacks in the future.

Keys to Victory: Hapeville Charter

This game will be Hapeville’s biggest challenge and it could not come at a harder time. However, if Hapeville wants to win, they will need to shut down Milton’s run game and pressure Farrell into making bad throws. In addition, the Hornets will need to establish a strict run game, that provides the opportunity to get the play-action game spark. Hapeville also needs to own time of possession and take away Milton’s ability to score.

Keys to Victory: Milton

For Milton, the task at hand is simple yet not to be overlooked. The Eagles need to stick to their bread and butter; wear the Hornets down with a power run game, then open up with passes, and shut them down with the tenacious defense. A special team’s play would be nice to see to further increase momentum for the Eagles.

Game Summary

Realistically this game should be all Eagles. McDonald and Farrell should prosper in running the ball and light it up with rushing yards. The defense expects to play an excellent game forcing a few turnovers and getting sacks. This game should be a confidence boost for Milton as the duel with North Cobb next week in a higher stake’s matchup.

Score Prediction


Hapeville Charter/10

Live Loud Players of the Game

Jordan McDonald

Owen Pauley

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