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Football Celebrates Homecoming With Visit From Walnut Hills

Posted on: September 29, 2016

SETTING THE SCENE: The Milford High School football team will again look for its second win of the year and first Eastern Cincinnati Conference triumph when the Eagles host Walnut Hills on Friday night for Homecoming. The annual Battle of the Eagles is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff. A strong Milford rushing offense will be tested by the stout Walnut Hills defense. Milford enters the night 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the ECC, while the upstart Walnut squad is 4-1 overall and 1-1 inside the conference.


A LOOK BACK: Sept. 23 vs. Loveland: Loveland turned four Milford turnovers into 21 points as the Tigers retained the Miami Township Victory Bell with a 27-14 win over the Eagles on Sept. 23 in Eastern Cincinnati Conference action. The Tigers (2-3, 2-0 ECC) built a 20-0 first quarter lead and never looked back as they dropped the Eagles fell to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.


Dawson Slone provided the offensive highlights for the Eagles as he picked up his second 100-yard game of the year, finishing with 114 yards on the ground, plus 25 yards receiving. Hayden Sluder was all over the field on defense for the Eagles finishing with a game-high 13 tackles.


The night got off to a rough start for the Eagles as they committed two special teams turnovers and fell behind 14-0 before the MHS offense could even take the field. After the defense forced a three-and-out on Loveland’s first possession, the Eagles fumbled back to the Tigers on the punt return. Loveland took advantage of the gift with a 71-yard, seven-play scoring drive that culminated with Ryan Bagnoli bulling in from one-yard out.


Things went from bad to worse for the Eagles on the ensuing kickoff as a short kick bounced off one of Milford’s up men and was recovered by the Tigers. Just two plays later, quarterback Cameron Beck found Bagnoli in the flat and he rumbled 48 yards for another Loveland score.


Following a Milford punt, Bagnoli was at it again as he rushed 20 yards on fourth-and-one for his third touchdown of the quarter. Midway through the second quarter, the Eagles put together a strong drive to cut into the deficit, going 55 yards in 12 plays for its first score of the night. Slone did much of the heavy lifting on the drive, accounting for all but two of the yards. Tyler Smith scored on a quarterback sneak from one-yard out for the score.


Heading into the second half trailing 20-7, the Eagles needed a score to stay close, but Ryan Batsch jumped in front of a Smith pass midway through the third quarter and raced 56 yards the other way for another Loveland score off a turnover. Midway through the fourth quarter, Milford found the end zone again on a five-yard Chase Witte five-yard scamper but could get no closer.


The final stats were nearly even with the exception of the Eagles four turnovers to just one by the Tigers. Loveland held a slim 257-244 edge in total yards and a 189-177 advantage on the ground. Zion Wynn led the visitors with 114 yards rushing.


Click here for the final Milford-Loveland game stats.


A LOOK AT THE OPPONENT: A look vs. Walnut Hills, Milford’s 2016 Week 6 opponent:

  • Friday, Sept. 30 vs. Walnut Hills, 7:00 p.m.
    • 2016 Record: 4-1, 1-1 ECC (T-7th Division II area coaches’ weekly poll)
    • Top Offensive Player: Junior RB Robvae McDonald (342 yards rushing, 5 TDs)
    • Top Defensive Player: Senior DB Justin Lockett (4 INTs)
    • Last Meeting: 2015; Milford 34, Walnut Hills 13
    • Capsule look at the Eagles: Under first-year head coach Brian Lainhart, Walnut Hills has really turned around their fortunes in 2016. After winning just three games combined during the 2014-15 seasons, this year Walnut started the year 4-0 before falling for the first time last week to Turpin.


THE MATCH-UP: A look at the Milford-Walnut Hills match-up by the numbers (per game averages with conference team rankings):

  • Milford scoring offense (7th-20.2) vs. Walnut Hills scoring defense (3rd-13.2)
  • Milford total offense (6th-266.8) vs. Walnut Hills total defense (N/A-170.2)
  • Milford rushing offense (3rd-196.2) vs. Walnut Hills rushing defense (N/A-81.6)
  • Milford passing offense (6th-70.6) vs. Walnut Hills passing defense (N/A-88.6)
  • Walnut Hills scoring offense (4th-27.6) vs. Milford scoring defense (4th-32.8)
  • Walnut Hills total offense (5th-269.0) vs. Milford total defense (N/A-383.0)
  • Walnut Hills rushing offense (6th-148.6) vs. Milford rushing defense (N/A-254.4)
  • Walnut Hills passing offense (4th-120.4) vs. Milford passing defense (N/A-128.6)


INSIDE THE ECC: Three teams remain unbeaten in league play with Kings, Loveland and Turpin all sitting at 2-0 in ECC action. Turpin is also unbeaten overall at a perfect 5-0.


The Week 6 ECC schedule includes: Walnut Hills at Milford, Anderson at Loveland, Glen Este at Withrow, and Kings at Turpin.


INSIDE THE NUMBERS: A look at Milford’s statistical leaders:

Rushing Yards: Chase Witte (487)

Passing Yards: Chase Witte (207)

Receiving Yards: Max Brewer (203)

Tackles: Eric Richey (44)

Sacks: Eric Richey (1.5)

Interceptions: None

Kickoff Return Yards: Chase Witte (92)

Punting Average: Chase Witte (38.2)

Punt Return Yards: Sam Pickett (81)


POLL WATCH: Milford did not receive any votes in the weekly Division I area coaches’ poll sponsored by the Cincinnati Enquirer and released on Sept. 26. Colerain once again earned all the No. 1 votes (seven this week) and leads a top-five comprised of Elder, St. Xavier, Moeller and Mason. In the Division II rankings, the ECC is well represented with Kings and Turpin ranked tied for first and third, despite the Knights not garnering a single No. 1 vote. The top votes went to LaSalle (two), third place Turpin and seventh-place Walnut Hills. The ECC is also represented by Loveland in a tie for seventh with Walnut, Anderson in ninth and Withrow receiving votes. The coaches’ poll is released every Monday at Noon at


WHAT THE COMPUTER SAYS: The latest installment of the OHSAA Computer Ratings which ultimately determines the playoff match-ups across the state have been released. In DI, the top-eight teams in each of Ohio’s four regions will earn a berth in the playoffs. The current top-eight in Region 4 by ranking are: Colerain, Elder, Lebanon, St. Xavier, Mason, Fairfield, Northmont and Moeller. Milford currently ranks 15th in the region.


In the Division II, Region 8 rankings, of which the balance of the ECC resides, Turpin (first) and Kings (sixth) are in qualifying positions, with Walnut Hills just outside in ninth and Anderson close behind in 11th.


OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: Milford’s offense had a big night in the Eagles’ Week 3 win over Norwood. On a night that featured 100 points and over 1,000 yards of combined offense in a 52-48 Milford win, the Eagles finished with 449 yards of total offense, the most by an MHS team in nearly a decade. The 52 points were the most since the Eagles put up the same amount against Woodward in Week 5 of the 2010 season.


ON THE TUBE: Local cable access channel ICRC-TV will broadcast a pair of Milford home contests involving this fall for tape-delayed replay. The first of the two scheduled games was against Turpin on Sept. 9 and the cameras will return for the Oct. 21 match-up vs. Anderson.


TICKET TALK: Once again this season, pre-sale tickets for all ages are available for all home and ECC away games only in the Milford High School Athletic Office for a cost of $5. Please note tickets for all ages at the gate are priced at $7 each. Come out and support the Eagles and save by purchasing your tickets in advance!