‘Jackets snag second straight win

(photo gallery below)

MILTON — The Yellowjacket defense kept visiting Mt. Anthony off the scoreboard in the first half and put Milton on it in the second for a 32-7 Division I football victory, the Yellowjackets’ second straight win after opening with a pair of losses.

Against Mt. Anthony on Sept. 22, Milton led 6-0 at halftime thanks to a 25-yard touchdown pass to Reeve Dashnow with 2:18 left in the first half, then poured it on in the second half to earn a second straight win.

Laware also connected with Colin Mathis on a second-half touchdown pass, while the defense notched a pair of scores. MHS freshman Chas Larivee recovered a fumble at the Mt. Anthony 40 and ran it in for a touchdown, while Laware scored six on an interception that he ran back 55 yards into the end zone.

Mt. Anthony’s score came on a 46-yard catch by Gavin Johnson.

The Yellowjackets (2-1 in Division II, 2-2 overall) play a fourth straight home game Friday night when Mt. Abraham (1-3) visits. Milton then closes the regular season on the road, at Lyndon, Burr & Burton, and Spaulding.

On Sept. 15 against Windsor, strong second-half defense helped Milton come out on top of a back-and-forth battle against Windsor in a 34-24 win.

Each team had a big momentum swing go in its favor and each held a double-digit lead at different points. In the end, Milton held Windsor scoreless in the second half and mustered enough big plays in the final six minutes to snap a two-game losing streak to start the season.

“We needed to make some plays because we left some plays on the field in the first half,” said Milton coach Jim Provost. “Our defense really shut them down in the second half and our offensive line started to really buckle down in the second half and play well.

“And we showed some guts out there, which was great to see.”

Milton jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first nine minutes before Windsor racked up 24 straight points through the rest of the first half.

But starting quarterback Ryland Richardson went down early in the second half for the Wasps, who had to turn to lineman and backup quarterback Max Clifford the rest of the way.

The Windsor offense couldn’t get much going and Milton responded with a 20-0 run of its own, scoring two touchdowns in the last half of the fourth quarter to rally.

With Windsor ahead 24-14, each team put together one long drive that chewed up the third-quarter clock. Windsor’s drive stalled at the 50-yard line before Milton used a balanced attack featuring quarterback Jake Laware (16 carries, 139 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Eric Godin (16 carries, 118 yards, 1 touchdown). The Jackets’ drive ended with a score as the clock struck zero in the quarter, on Godin’s 2-yard run to make it 24-22.

After Milton stopped Windsor for a three-and-out, a long Yellowjacket gain was wasted when a 54-yard run to the Windsor 10 ended in a lost fumble.

It was the second tough break for Milton in the quarter, which also had a long touchdown run by Laware called back.

“It almost seemed as if something was working against us after getting the touchdown called back and the fumble,” said Provost. “But credit to our guys, they didn’t let it get to them and kept chugging along out there.”

Milton’s defense stood tall again, forcing another three-and-out. This time, the Yellowjackets took advantage of the opportunity as Laware took a quarterback keeper 26 yards for a touchdown to put Milton up 28-24.

Windsor was intercepted on its first play on offense and Milton used a nine-play drive to kill the clock, capped by a touchdown run Cam Barnier to put the game away.

Coming off back-to-back perfect seasons capped by state titles, the Wasps suffered their first loss since 2015 in Week 2 when they fell to Poultney.

“I’m really proud of our guys tonight,” said Provost. “For one, coming from behind and getting a win against a very good, and very proud, football program in Windsor. But having lost our first two games and being down 10 points tonight, we really battled through adversity tonight. We needed a win tonight, and we got the win.”