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Football To Open At Princeton In Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown Contest

Posted on: August 23, 2018

SETTING THE SCENE: The Milford High School football team, who last season broke an over three decade conference championship and OHSAA Playoffs appearance drought, are set to kick off the 2018 campaign on Friday night when the Eagles travel to Princeton. The match-up, part of the 21st annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown, renews a rivalry idle since 2006 between the Eagles (8-3 in 2017) and the Vikings (4-6 in 2017). Kickoff from the newly renovated Mancuso Field at Viking Stadium, is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

 

A LOOK AT THE EAGLES: While the 2017 Eagles featured a bevy of talented seniors, the cupboard is far from bare for veteran head coach Tom Grippa, now in his second season patrolling the Milford sidelines. The skill positions on the offensive side of the ball will be especially strong with four All-Eastern Cincinnati Conference selections, including a trio of first team choices, back for another year. At wide receiver, senior Jake Ayler returns after tallying 666 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Fellow senior Cameron Kells was a threat on the ground (553 yards) and through the air (375 yards), totaling nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns, despite missing three games.

 

The final returning All-ECC selection is massive senior TE Connor Foster. Standing 6’8”, weighing 280 pounds and bound for Northwestern University next year, Foster is a devastating run blocker who used his soft hands to haul in 21 passes for 222 yards last season. Senior WR Dylan Hughes is a big play downfield threat, finishing last year with 646 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

 

The biggest question on offense will be how will junior QB Hunter Johnson fare in replacing all-conference QB Blake King. Johnson has a strong arm and the ability to be a key performer. Some of the names that figure to protect Johnson are seniors Tony Facciolo, Nate Flannery and Brian Stevens.

 

The defense will feature lots of new faces, with key returners including senior LBs Hayden Johnson (brother of Hunter) and Jacob Turner and senior DB Dustin Laudermilk, along with Foster lining up at DE.

 

A LOOK AT THE OPPONENT: A look at Princeton, Milford’s 2018 Week 1 opponent:

  • Friday, Aug. 24 at Princeton, 7:00 p.m.
    • 2017 Record: 4-6, 4-4 GMC (8th Division I area coaches’ preseason poll)
    • Top Returning Offensive Player: Senior WR Jermaine Wimpey (2nd team All-GMC 2017; 281 yards receiving, 1 TD)
    • Top Returning Defensive Player: Junior DL Darrion Henry (2nd team All-GMC 2017; 37 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 INTs, 1 TD)
    • Last Meeting: 2006; Princeton 16, Milford 0

 

THE MATCH-UP: A look at the Milford-Princeton match-up by the numbers (2017 per game averages with conference team rankings):

  • Milford scoring offense (2nd-33.3) vs. Princeton scoring defense (5th-20.6)
  • Milford total offense (3rd-323.3) vs. Princeton total defense (5th-310.6)
  • Milford rushing offense (8th-105.6) vs. Princeton rushing defense (5th-176.5)
  • Milford passing offense (2nd-217.7) vs. Princeton passing defense (7th-134.1)
  • Princeton scoring offense (6th-21.3) vs. Milford scoring defense (3rd-21.1)
  • Princeton total offense (8th-294.3) vs. Milford total defense (4th-312.9)
  • Princeton rushing offense (5th-208.0) vs. Milford rushing defense (5th-180.2)
  • Princeton passing offense (7th-86.3) vs. Milford passing defense (6th-132.7)

 

INSIDE THE ECC: One year after the Eastern Cincinnati Conference crowned tri-champions, the league promises to be competitive from top-to-bottom again this fall. Seven of the eight league schools received votes in the preseason area coaches’ poll, setting up another exciting season. Anderson, Milford and West Clermont all went 6-1 last season to share the title, with Kings coming home fourth at 4-3. Turpin finished 3-4, one game better than 2-5 Walnut Hills. Loveland had an uncharacteristically down year, finishing 1-6 in the league, while Withrow was 0-7.

 

The Week 1 ECC schedule includes: Milford at Princeton, Woodward at Withrow (Wednesday), Mount Healthy vs. Anderson (Thursday at Princeton), Walnut Hills at Lakota East, Loveland at Sycamore, Turpin at New Philadelphia, Lebanon at Kings and West Clermont at Hamilton.

 

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

Rushing Yards: Cameron Kells (553)

Passing Yards: Hunter Johnson (74)

Receiving Yards: Jake Ayler (666)

Tackles: Hayden Johnson (67)

Sacks: Logan Almarez (1.0)

Interceptions: Dustin Laudermilk (1)

Kickoff Return Yards: Dylan Hughes (116)

Punting Average: Hunter Johnson (35.0)

Punt Return Yards: Dustin Laudermilk (56)

 

POLL WATCH: The Eagles are ranked seventh in the preseason Division I area coaches’ poll, sponsored by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Colerain earned six of the seven first place votes that were cast to take the top position with St. Xavier, Elder (one first place vote), Fairfield and Moeller completing the top-five. The ECC is also represented by West Clermont in ninth and Walnut Hills receiving votes. The Division II rankings also have a strong ECC flavor with Anderson third, Kings sixth, Loveland eighth, and Turpin ninth. The coaches’ poll is released every Monday at Noon at preps.cincinnati.com/coachespolls.

 

TRISTATE FOOTBALL HONORS EAGLE PAIR: Prior to each season, area website Tristatefootball.com recognizes the best of the best with inclusion on the site’s three all-area websites. The team’s are decided based on a combination of fan vote and staff input and the 2018 squads feature a pair of Eagles. On the offensive side of the ball, senior TE Connor Foster was selected to the second team, while senior WR Jake Ayler earned a slot on the third team.