Special Teams, Offense, doom Roswell in loss to Milton

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Special Teams, Offense, doom Roswell in loss to Milton

Roswell Student Section witnesses the Roswell Hornets Varsity Football Team take on the Milton Eagles. The Eagles beat the Hornets 16-12. Photo Credit: Jules Campbell

Roswell Student Section witnesses the Roswell Hornets Varsity Football Team take on the Milton Eagles. The Eagles beat the Hornets 16-12. Photo Credit: Jules Campbell

Roswell Student Section witnesses the Roswell Hornets Varsity Football Team take on the Milton Eagles. The Eagles beat the Hornets 16-12. Photo Credit: Jules Campbell

Roswell Student Section witnesses the Roswell Hornets Varsity Football Team take on the Milton Eagles. The Eagles beat the Hornets 16-12. Photo Credit: Jules Campbell

Rajath Prabhakar, Sports Editor

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Roswell entered their rivalry game with Milton undefeated at 2-0, not having played for two weeks. Milton was coming off back to back losses. Roswell’s rust showed, especially on offense, where they were not able to get going against the stout Milton defense. 

Game Recap

1st Quarter

Roswell won the toss and deferred to the second half. Milton took the ball and kept feeding Ahmad Junearick (12), before Jackson Weaver (12) was intercepted by Dillon Holyfield (11). Taking over from their own 45-yard line, Roswell did nothing with the turnover, going 3 and out. Punt. Milton took the ball from their 23, getting all the way to Roswell’s 35 before stalling out. Jason Aussin (12) hit a 53 yard field goal to draw first blood in the contest. 3-0 Milton.

Roswell took the ensuing kickoff and was only able to manage one first down before being forced to punt. 

2nd Quarter

Milton took over from their 46, knifing through Roswell’s defense before Ahmad Junearick shed 2 tackles en route to a 26 yard touchdown. Jason Aussin’s point-after did not miss. 10-0 Milton.

On the ensuing drive, Roswell was once again unable to do anything against the excellent defense, only managing one first down before stalling. Starting offensive lineman Matthew Copeland (12) was shaken up during the drive, but was able to get off the field under his own power. 

After Roswell punted, Milton looked like they would be able to add on to their lead. However, Roswell got off the field via a fumble and a sack. 

With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, Roswell’s offense showed signs of life. Ethan Roberts completed passes to Marquis Willis (11) and John Copenhaver (12) for 21 and 42 yards, respectively. Roswell then decided running three straight times was a good idea. Roswell fell short of the first down. The home side tried to go for it on fourth down, but a false start on Jr. Trey Lednik forced the Hornets to kick a field goal. The 32-yard field-goal attempt fell way short. This special teams’ miscue would become a theme as the night progressed. 

Milton was able to run out the clock in the first half. 

 “Poorly timed penalties caused our defense to stay on the field longer,” said Coach Dodd on the Roswell defense. 

Milton 10, Roswell 0

3rd Quarter

The Hornets took the ball in the second half, getting all the way inside the Milton 30. However, Roswell once again sputtered in Milton territory, eventually turning the ball over on downs. 

Milton took their foot off the gas pedal as they went three-and-out. Roswell’s defense came up big on this drive, registering a sack and a negative-yardage play. Roswell and Milton would trade three-and-outs on the next three drives. Roswell eventually took over in Milton territory, with rushes of four, five and seven yards, putting Roswell at the Milton 20. 

4th Quarter

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Ethan Roberts connected with Jacob Jarrett for a 20-yard touchdown. Roswell was on the board. Finally. However, this small victory was short-lived as Caden Long’s extra point was blocked. Roswell made the mistake of allowing pressure up the middle, which is what led to the block. 

The Hornets were not able to get a stop on the ensuing drive. It started with an 18-yard throw and catch (Farrell to Junearick) on third and two. The next play, Devin Farrell gashed the Roswell defense with a 40-yard run, putting Milton on the goal line. Junearick was able to punch it in the next play, extending Milton’s lead. However, the home side got a block of their own, keeping the deficit at 16-6. 

On the ensuing drive, the Hornets reached the Eagles 25 in 8 plays. However, two Ethan Roberts incompletions doomed their drive as they turned it over on downs. This was the second such turnover. 

Roswell, however, was able to catch a break, as Ahmad Junearick fumbled. The Hornets recovered the fumble and took over from the Eagle 28. Two running plays and an incomplete pass later, the home side once again found themselves in a fourth down situation. On fourth and three, Ethan Roberts found himself under pressure again. As he was being tackled, Roberts somehow got the pass off and found Marquis Willis for a touchdown to put the Hornets back in the game. It was a 23-yard throw and catch, and a clutch play for both quarterback and wide receiver. However, Roswell botched the extra point as Roberts fumbled the snap. Milton 16, Roswell 12

With the Hornets desperately needing a stop, Roswell’s defense once again came up big. After losses of two and a run for no gain, the Hornets were able to hold Devin Farrell to one yard to force a punt. A short punt gave Roswell the ball at Milton’s 38. 

The Hornets’ final drive got off to a quick start, with Ethan Roberts connecting with John Copenhaver (12) for fourteen yards. Unfortunately, Roswell seemed to abandon the pass, as two unproductive runs by Saveon McCrary left Roswell in a third and long. This would prove costly, as Ethan Roberts’ third down pass was incomplete, and his second pass was intercepted by Jack Rhodes (12). 

“We were very fortunate to come out of here with the win tonight. We have to clean it up on offense. We were messing up on some basic things, and it’s on me to fix those errors,” said Milton Head Football Coach Adam Clack on the win.

With the loss, Roswell falls to 2-1, and Milton improves to 2-2. Tonight’s matchup showed just how vulnerable the Hornets’ special teams is. Both of Roswell’s touchdowns were capped off by botched extra points and their lone field goal attempt fell well short. An argument can be made that had the extra points been made, Roswell would not have been in a position to have to score a touchdown on their final drive. Additionally, a muffed punt led to Milton’s opening score and costly penalties handed the Eagles better field position. 

“Often times during the game they were more physical than we were. More accurately, however, is the fact that we did not take advantage of personnel or numbers advantages on the perimeter that would have allowed us to move the ball more efficiently,” said Coach Kemper. 

The special teams will have to show considerable improvement to compete in a region with the likes of Cherokee, Walton and Grayson. 

On offense, the Hornets were able to have some success, but lack of finishing in the red zone proved costly. Two turnovers on downs, two botched extra points and a missed field goal left at least eleven points on the board, which is huge when facing a defense like Milton’s. 

Up next, Roswell will take on the Wheeler Wildcats, who sit at 2-2. The Wildcats handed Roswell their only loss of the 2018 season.