WOODSTOCK, Ga. – Less than 15 minutes into last Thursday’s game against Etowah, Milton led 35-0 and seemed headed to a runaway victory.
By the early stages of the third quarter, Etowah had cut Milton’s lead to 38-21 and had driven to the Eagles’ 30 with a chance to close within 10 points.
Milton’s defense, which had fallen apart in the second quarter, re-established control of the Etowah offense and made a key stop.
The Eagles’ offense then took over, scoring three touchdowns in three fourth-quarter possessions to close out a 59-27 win. The victory keeps Milton unbeaten in Region 5-AAAAAA (3-0) and improves the team’s overall record to 5-1.
Milton piled up 500 yards of offense, with tailbacks Peyton Barber and Treyvon Paulk combining for almost 300 yards rushing. Barber carried 23 times for 167 yards and Paulk added 129 yards on 14 attempts, with both scoring three touchdowns.
Quarterback A.J. Bush passed for 139 yards and scored on two quarterback sneaks, with Chris Mills connecting on a 44-yard field goal and all eight of his PAT attempts.
The Milton defense limited Etowah to 58 yards rushing, but allowed 222 yards passing, most of it in the second quarter when the home Eagles made their comeback.
Milton drove 75 yards to score on its first series, with Barber bursting into the end zone from 5 yards out. Paulk sped 37 yards for a score two-and-a-half minutes later, and the Eagles capitalized on three straight Etowah turnovers to put 21 more points on the board.
The Eagles recovered a fumble at the Etowah 13, went 68 yards after a Grey Davis interception and recovered another fumble at the Etowah 20. Bush scored his two touchdowns around a 6-yard run by Barber.
Exactly two-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, Etowah had more turnovers (three) than first downs (two), but responded with a 78-yard touchdown drive.
With 1:05 left in the period, Etowah tailback Brandon Engle took a short pass 78 yards for a score following Mills’ field goal, and the home Eagles got the ball back in the closing seconds near midfield.
Sophomore quarterback Robbie Knox heaved the ball into the end zone on the last play of the half, with receiver Ben Rowell getting behind the Milton secondary to complete a 44-yard touchdown.
Milton regained control in the second half with a 70-yard drive that overcame two 10-yard penalties. Barber scored from the 2 with 36 seconds gone in the fourth quarter. On the next Milton series, he broke loose on his next carry for 66 yards to the Etowah 5.
Paulk scored on the next play, and sparked a late drive he ended with a 4-yard score.
Etowah (2-1, 3-3) managed just 60 yards of offense in the second half, scoring on Rowell’s 98-yard kickoff return after the second of Milton’s three fourth-quarter scores.
Milton is off this week before a region showdown at home against Lassiter Oct. 19.