football coach Bret Pearce sprinted to the victory bell sitting outside
the east end zone and gave it a ring. Milton’s football opponents know exactly how that black bell feels. The
Bulldogs dinged up another opponent Friday, this time handing
Germantown Valley View a 22-7 loss in front of about 4,500 spectators
at Memorial Stadium.
Milton’s football opponents know exactly how that black bell feels. The Bulldogs dinged up another opponent Friday, this time handing Germantown Valley View a 22-7 loss in front of about 4,500 spectators at Memorial Stadium. The win was Milton’s third straight over Valley View and gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 series lead over the perennial-power Spartans.
“This feels great. We know what a quality opponent they are and the respect we have for Valley View,” said Pearce. “To win this game the way we did gives us a boost for next week.”
That would be Eaton. The Eagles (2-3) nearly ended Dayton Oakwood’s perfect season before surrendering 14 fourth-quarter points in a 24-17 loss Friday. If the Eagles hope to chime in with a win over the ’Dogs (5-0), they need to figure out how to run with them. Milton’s defense held Valley View (3-2) to 56 yards rushing on 18 carries, just two yards over the Bulldogs’ season average. Unofficially, Valley View had just 53 yards in total offense at halftime.
Milton needed just three plays to surpass that. Junior quarterback Jon Mason hit senior receiver Brendon Johnson in stride down the Valley View sideline for a 77-yard touchdown just one minute into the game. It was the first of Johnson’s three plays of 50 yards or more.
Johnson, coming off a shoulder injury, wasn’t even sure he’d suit up Friday. But as it turned out, his shoulders were plenty strong enough to lift Milton in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division game. The speedster rushed six times for 128 yards (including a pair of 52 and 51 yard bursts) and hauled in two passes for 80 yards.
“Yeah, I was nervous coming in. Thinking about them hitting us,” said Johnson. “They hit hard, ran to the ball. We just played better than them.”
Valley View coach Jay Niswonger didn’t disagree. The Spartans again struggled with penalties (8 for 55 yards) and turnovers (two lost fumbles, one interception). After Milton’s first score, Valley View lost a fumble on its third play from scrimmage. Milton senior running back Trevor Luckenbill (18 carries for 130 yards) made it 14-0 just four plays later and 8:49 still left in the first quarter.
The lead reached 20-0 on senior Tyler Wilson’s 24-yard blast up the middle three minutes later. The kick was blocked.
“The big plays are just the result of 11 kids working hard,” Pearce said. “We have some backs, if you give them a crease they can be tough to bring down.”
And catch. The trio of Luckenbill, Wilson (23 carries for 97 yards) and Johnson combined for 10 carries that went for 10 yards or more.
After falling behind 20-0 after one quarter, Valley View settled down. The only other points the Spartans surrendered was a safety with 6:30 left before the half. Valley View junior Blake Shephard intercepted a pass on the Spartans’ 1-yard line. But on the first play, the Spartans’ handoff attempt bounced into the end zone where quarterback Johnny Day fell on it.
“We’re killing ourselves. Right now we’re not a very good football team because we’ve got penalties,” Niswonger said. “We turned the ball over and they capitalized.”
The Spartans pulled to 22-7 with 9:02 left in the third on Day’s 6-yard run. Valley View had the momentum after forcing Milton to go 3-and-out, then putting together a 12-play drive that started on their own 25. But that 12th play was a fumble that the ’Dogs recovered. After forcing another punt, Valley View saw another shot at at TD just elude the fingertips of a receiver who had his defender beat.
Milton worked some time off the clock before punting, then sealed the game on Luckenbill’s interception with 2:40 left.
“We were working on it, we just didn’t get it done,” Niswonger said of a Valley View passing attack that put up 187 yards. “Right now we’re our own worst enemy. We just have to clean it up.”
Valley View junior Lucas Donson led five Spartans’ receivers with 101 yards on five catches.
Milton’s Mason, meanwhile, completed 5-of-9 passes for 162 yards. Overall, Milton outgained Valley View 517 to 243.
“Our whole offense is misdirection, hiding the football,” said Pearce. “We hope to spread it out and have enough weapons it’s hard to stop all of them.”
And if teams are going to do it, it better happen early. Milton has outscored its five opponents 65-2 in the first quarter and 106-9 in the first half. Better yet, the Bulldogs have shown little signs of a second-half letdown with a 42-7 advantage in third quarters.
The win should keep Milton atop the Division IV, Region 16 computer points. But for now — and with league games with Eaton, Brookville, Oakwood, Northridge and Bellbrook remaining — Pearce is content thinking about a win over the Spartans.
“That’s very tough (to beat them three straight times). We certainly have a lot of respect for their program,” Pearce said. “One win over Valley View is great.”