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Magical Football Season Comes To Heartbreaking Ending

Posted on: November 5, 2017

The 2017 Milford High School football season was one for the ages with the first conference championship and playoff appearance since 1986. It had been so long that three players from that 1986 team have sons that were players on this year’s team. The season that the Milford community will be talking about for year to come came to a heartbreaking end on Friday night at the Eagles fell in double overtime to Sycamore 41-35.


The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Springer was on hand and provided this report on the Eagles-Aviators match-up.


In 1986, gas was around 89 cents per gallon, "Top Gun" was a top movie, Oprah Winfrey's talk show began and The Bangles had a hit with "Walk Like An Egyptian". Milford High School also went to the state playoffs as Eagles historians noted.


The drought ended Friday night at Sycamore's Coach Bud Acus Atrium Field with a game for the ages, but it was Sycamore prevailing in double overtime 41-35.


Brian Doneghy's fifth touchdown of the night in the second OT was enough to give Sycamore the six-point win. The juking junior ran for 249 yards to advance Coach Scott Dattilo's Aviators to round two.


"Great game!" Dattilo said surrounded by jubilant Aves and heartbroken Eagles. "Hats off to Milford for their effort tonight. Holy mackerel! They came to play. We came to play too, we just didn't play particularly well. It's a great win. It doesn't matter how you get them, we're just moving on."


Somehow smiling Milford's Tom Grippa added, "I told them we're winners. We don't have to look at the scoreboard to know who won. We are winners. That was a great game going against Scott Dattilo and my brother Lou (Sycamore assistant). I know all of those guys so that was a hard game to play."


After a scoreless first quarter, Milford continued a drive into the second quarter that culminated in a 15-yard scoring pass from Blake King to Cameron Kells. King had a couple of key completions in the drive to Dylan Hughes who recently returned to action.


Sycamore bounced back with their run game as Brian Doneghy found a hole up the gut on 3rd and 2 and rambled 54 yards for a score. Later in the quarter, Doneghy was featured again. A facemask penalty stopped one attempt inside the 10-yard line, but he plunged forward from a yard away on the next play. Sycamore went to the locker room at halftime up 14-7 with Doneghy having rushed for 130 yards.



The Aves opened the second half with a drive nearly lasting five minutes. Brian Doneghy added his third touchdown with a 3-yard run. Down 21-7, Cameron Kells rallied the Eagles to midfield. King then ran the ball to the 25. The next play was a pass to Dylan Hughes to the end zone that bounced off a Sycamore defender into the Milford receiver's hands. King's two-point conversion run cut Sycamore's lead to 21-15.


Before the third frame was over, Drew Altemuehle had lobbed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Myron Williams for a 28-15 advantage. Then, the Eagles fought back as Blake King found Jake Ayler all alone 57 yards away to cut the lead to 28-21.


Sycamore had an opportunity to play add-on in the fourth after another long Doneghy run, but the Aves had to settle for a field goal attempt by Jacob Hasselbeck that was wide.


Milford was driving again, but Khalis Hicks picked off King to give Sycamore the ball with under five minutes left. The Aves couldn't move the ball and turned it back to Milford. Blake King then methodically picked apart the secondary with completions to Jake Ayler and a solo run. First and goal from the 5-yard line, Cameron Kells plowed through and Dillon Coleman converted to tie the game at 28. Sycamore couldn't move the ball at the end leading to overtime.


In the first extra period, Cameron Kells scored from a yard out and Sycamore's Doneghy scored from the 2-yard line to keep things even. Sycamore had the ball first in the second OT and Doneghy added another 1-yard score. However, the Hasselbeck extra point hit the crossbar and it was 41-35. Milford's fans cheered loudly sensing an opportunity, but the Aves defense held up on four consecutive plays. The final Blake King completion fell short and the green and gold of Sycamore stormed the field in victory.


"It was a stinger," King said of the defeat in his final Milford game. "It was a ride. It was everything I could ask for."


Doneghy's 249 yards were a season-high for the converted wide receiver.


"He was our starting receiver and we made some position moves due to some injuries," Dattilo said. "He's done a great job. He gives us some punch in the interior running game."


Click here for the final Milford-Sycamore game stats.