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Postseason Honors Roll In For ECC Champion Eagles

Posted on: November 19, 2017

A multitude of outstanding performances throughout the season culminated in the Milford High School football team winning a share of the 2017 Eastern Cincinnati Conference Championship and making an OHSAA Playoff appearance. Those honors have been recognized as 12 Eagles have recently earned accolades from the ECC and Southwest District Sportswriters. Headlining the list is senior defensive standout Bryce Dugan who was tabbed the ECC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year and a first team all-district selection.


Dugan was one of six Milford players to earn first team All-ECC honors and one of a trio to also be recognized by the SW District media. Joining Dugan as double honorees were senior QB Blake King (2nd team all-district) and junior TE Connor Foster (honorable mention all-district). The remaining first team league choices include junior WR Jake Ayler, senior OL Mitch Cox and junior RB Cameron Kells.


Other members of the 2017 Eagles’ roster to be recognized by the ECC were senior DB/KR Evan Baugh, senior K Dillon Coleman, senior DL Dax Creager, junior WR Dylan Hughes and senior LB Bailey Knox on the second team and senior DB Ryan Hezlep as Milford’s honorable mention selection.


Dugan was a force on the defensive line all season long for the Eagles, finishing with a team-high 121 tackles (including 17 for loss) and an ECC-best 6.5 sacks. He also forced four fumbles, recovered one and executed a pick-six interception for a touchdown in the huge win over Anderson. In several games, Dugan pulled double-duty, seeing extended action at right guard on offense for the Eagles. He shared defensive player of the year honors with West Clermont’s Joey Floccari.


King was at the controls of the high-octane Eagles’ offense, finishing his senior year with arguably the greatest performance by a Milford signal-caller in school history. For the year, King completed 60 percent of his 309 passes for 2,342 yards and a staggering 23 touchdowns. He also rushed for 13 more scores on the ground, leading a Milford offense that ranked second in the league in scoring and was third in total offense.


Standing at 6’6” tall, Foster was a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses from his tight end position. Also an outstanding blocker, Foster hauled in 21 passes from King for 222 yards and a touchdown. He contributed further on defense, finishing with 13 tackles and three passes broken up.


King’s favorite target throughout the season was Ayler who led the team in catches (53) and receiving yards (666). From his slot receiver position, Ayler hauled in four touchdown passes, including a key 64-yard catch and run in the playoff match-up with Sycamore.


Cox, who started the season at right guard, showed his versatility by making the needed shift to center after an early season injury to a teammate. Cox was phenomenal on snaps and paved the way for an offense that averaged nearly 330 yards and 34 points per game.


Kells clearly earned the respect of the ECC coaches as he was voted a first team selection despite missing three games due to injury. As a junior, Kells proved to be one of the most dangerous weapons in the league, finishing with 14 total touchdowns. On the ground, Kells led the Eagles with 553 yards and eight touchdowns, while hauling in 40 passes for 375 yards and six more scores.


Baugh was a threat all over the field as an explosive kick returner, a lock down defensive back and on occasion, a tough-to-defend receiver. For the year, Baugh averaged over 20 yards per punt return (including a touchdown) and 29 yards per kick return. On defense, Baugh finished with a team-best four interceptions, along with 36 tackles, four pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He added 99 yards receiving and one touchdown on offense.


Coleman had another outstanding season kicking, converting on 42 of 44 extra-point tries and adding one field goal. He was a huge weapon kicking off, dropping 16 of his 63 kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks.


Creager was one of several outstanding defensive linemen for the Eagles, totaling 52 tackles, including 8.5 behind the line of scrimmage. Also tough to block, Creager finished with three sacks, while blocking a punt in the West Clermont game that nearly led to an Eagles victory.


Hughes used his incredible speed to haul in eight touchdown passes among his 39 receptions. His 646 yards ranked second on the team as did his 116 yards on kickoff returns.


Knox was another defensive standout for the Eagles, trailing only Dugan on the team with 84 tackles, including eight for loss. Knox also registered 1.5 sacks, two pass break-ups, one fumble recovery and a forced fumble. He also provided some hard running as a back-up in the offensive backfield, finishing with 99 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns.


Milford’s honorable mention choice was Hezlep, a key contributor on defense. As a senior, Hezlep shared team-high honors with four pass break-ups, while tallying 33 tackles and snagging one interception.