Milton quarterback Jordan Yates accounted for four touchdowns and then the Eagles poured on more points late with a safety and a return touchdown on the ensuing free kick, running away with a 40-7 win over the Roswell Hornets on Friday at Ray Manus Stadium.
The game was a case of two Class AAAAAAA programs, led by coaches in their first seasons with their respective teams, headed in different directions. The Eagles (4-1), led by Adam Clack, broke a three-game losing streak to Roswell — a long-time rival just 6.6 miles from campus — and are inching closer to their first winning season since 2014. The Hornets (1-4), led by Matt Kemper, are on track for their first losing season since 2013.
Yates set the tone on Friday, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another in the first half. He finished 8-for-16 passing for 186 yards with three touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 37 yards.
“It was all in the preparation,” said Yates, a 6-foot, 186-pound junior. “We had two weeks to prepare with the bye last week and we just had a really good scheme by our coaches and we executed it. …We’ve still got a long ways to go and we have a lot of potential. It feels like we’re just getting started.”
With 2:21 left in the first half and on third-and-5, Yates connected with Dash Hairston on a 75-yard touchdown pass. The Hornets defense got caught blitzing their safeties and Yates hit Hairston on an intermediate route down the middle, then Hairston broke away from defenders to do the rest. That brought the score to 21-7.
The Hornets drove nearly 70 yards into the red zone on their next possession, but fumbled on the Milton 16 with 14 seconds left and the Eagles’ Lucas Moore recovered, ending the threat and sending the game to halftime.
Things only got worse for Roswell from there.
The Eagles opened the second half scoring with 11:23 remaining in the game on Hairston’s second touchdown reception, this one for 14 yards. It capped a 12-play, 99-yard drive after the Hornets punted it down to the Milton 1. It would have served as the final dagger, but the Eagles weren't done.
Hayden Hairston kicked a 32-yard field goal to bring the score to 31-7 with 4:04 left, then Roswell completely fell apart. On the Hornets’ next possession, two penalties pushed them back to their own 7-yard line when, on third-and-23, they were called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety. D.J. Albright then took the free kick 67-yards for a touchdown to bring the score to its final margin with 2:35 remaining.
Solomon Vanhorse rushed 27 times for 107 yards to lead Milton rushers. Hairston had three catches for 99 yards and two scores and Holden Shaw had two catches for 23 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown.
Kamonty Jett rushed 19 times for 124 yards for Roswell to lead all rushers and Cordel Littlejohn was 14 of 25 passing with an interception and a 6 yard touchdown pass to Tyneil Hooper — the Hornets lone score, which came with 4:13 remaining in the first quarter.
Friday’s game concluded non-region play for both programs. The Eagles host West Forsyth next week in Region 5 and the Hornets travel to Lassiter in Region 4.
Milton 7 14 0 19 - 40
Roswell 7 0 0 0 - 7
M - Jordan Yates 3 run (Hayden Hairston kick)
R - Gabe Reeves 6 pass from Cordel Littlejohn (Caden Long kick)
M - Holden Shaw 18 pass from Yates (H. Hairston kick)
M - Dash Hairston 75 pass from Yates (H. Hairston kick)
M - D. Hairston 6 pass from Yates (H. Hairston kick)
M - H. Hairston 32 FG
M - Team safety
M - D.J. Albright 67 kick return (Hairston kick)