Milton Eagles’ comeback falls short against South Gwinnet 27, 20



SNELLVILLE, Ga. – A strong second-half showing by Milton wasn’t quite enough, as the Eagles lost 27-20 to South Gwinnett last Friday in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.

The Eagles (7-4) trailed 27-10 at the half, but dominated play over the final 24 minutes, limiting the Comets to one first down and 34 yards of offense the final two periods.

South Gwinnett (9-2) scored four touchdowns in the first half, three after getting excellent field position from the kicking game. A 48-yard punt return and 55-yard kickoff return enabled the Comets to start drives in Milton territory, leading to their first and third touchdowns.

After the Eagles scored with one minute left in the second period to close within 20-10, the Comets recovered a squib kickoff at their 46, and covered 54 yards in the final minute to expand their lead to 17 points.

The Comets contained the Milton offense for most of the first half, allowing scoring drives of 52 and 53 yards.

After South Gwinnett hit an 80-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-0 lead late in the opening period, the Eagles scored on a 30-yard field goal by Chris Mills.

A long kickoff return led to a South Gwinnett TD before the Eagles scored their first touchdown on an 18-yard pass from A.J. Bush to Eric Abbott. But with less than a minute to play, the Comets covered 54 yards in four plays to score with 29 seconds to spare.

Milton got its ground game going in the second half, with tailback Peyton Barber rushing for 92 of his 127 yards after halftime. Treyvon Paulk added 58 yards and Bush gained 74 yards, but lost 35 yards on sacks.

The Eagles finished with 225 yards rushing and 333 total yards, while the Comets managed just 29 yards on the ground but had 243 through the air.

Milton drove 62 yards on its second series of the second half to close within 27-17 on a 1-yard run by Bush. The Eagles drove into South Gwinnett territory on their next two possessions but were forced to punt both times.

The Comets muffed the second punt, with Milton recovering at the South Gwinnett 10. The Comets held and forced a 20-yard Mills field goal with 3:39 to play.

South Gwinnett picked up its only first down of the second half, but that was enough, and the Eagles got the ball back at their 21 with 1:32 to play. They got as far as the South Gwinnett 35, but Bush was sacked to end the team’s comeback hopes.

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