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Milford overcomes slow start, beats Con-Val

posted Sep 22, 2012, 3:59 AM by Milford Spartans

Friday night's game wasn't even a minute old and the Milford High School football team already trailed Con-Val.

In the past, maybe the hill would have been too much. But on this night, the Spartans had plenty of time to climb.

After Con-Val's Chris Queen scored on a 75-yard touchdown run on the game's second play, Milford's defense clamped down on the Cougars, and the Spartans' rushing attack took over. Milford scored 41 unanswered points, including 20 in the second quarter, to beat Con-Val 41-6 and improve to 3-0 in Division III (3-1 overall).

Connor Borne led Milford with 147 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and Mitchell Banuskevich added 69 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. As a team, the Spartans finished with 278 rushing yards and five scores, and Harrison Urda led the defense with two interceptions, the second of which he returned 68 yards for a touchdown.

"That was a great group effort," Milford coach Keith Jones said. "We did some nice things early on and got the game back."

Milford started the game in disarray. The Spartans spent the week preparing for the I-formation, rushing offense Con-Val (0-3, 1-3) had displayed in its first three games. But on the first play from scrimmage, the Cougars lined up in the shotgun, and Milford was forced to take a timeout.

Noah Powers completed a pass for five yards, and Queen followed with a 75 yard run down the far sideline to put Con-Val up 6-0 with just 39 seconds gone off the clock.

But after Milford went three-and-out on its first drive, it forced Con-Val to punt and answered with a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended on a 36-yard touchdown run by Banuskevich. Evan Perron's extra point gave the Spartans a 7-6 lead, one they would not let go.

"I think to come back, as big of a play as it was, to keep our heads up, it was a big step for us," Borne said. "We knew who they were and we knew they were going to be good. For us to recover, it means we can compete."

And compete the Spartans did, forcing the Cougars to punt on their next three drives. Milford scored after the first two, and when Con-Val failed to convert a fake punt near midfield, the Spartans capitalized with another touchdown to lead 27-6 at halftime.

After going 80 yards on two plays on its first drive, Con-Val ran 18 plays - half of which were incomplete passes - the rest of the half, gaining just seven yards.

"Watching film of them, they've got some big boys and they play aggressive," Con-Val coach Ryan McCarthy said. "We thought we had a better chance of spreading them out. We're up 6-0 and we proceed to drop about a dozen balls in a row. Had we completed some passes, it would have worked. It just didn't happen."

Jones was shocked, as were his players, but in the end, they worked through it.

"We weren't prepared for it," Jones said. "We weren't ready for an aerial assault. We made adjustments. The kids, defensively, did a great job adjusting and kept working it out."

Urda's first interception came just before halftime, and the junior returned that pick 68 yards to the end zone, but a block in the back by Milford brought the play back into the Spartans' territory. When Urda jumped a route in the second half to intercept another Powers pass, no one was catching him.

"It was good to see (Harrison) got the second one," Borne said. "Most of (the pass defense) was our two safeties, Harrison (Urda) and (Mitchell) Banuskevich. They did a real good job jumping routes."

Milford will head home on Sept. 28 for its first meeting with Alvirne.