With the victory, Milton moves to 5-0, marking only the third time in school history the football team has started the season with five victories.
Milton coach Howie Decristofaro acknowledged the feat but stressed this group’s maturity after the game, “The kids are finally starting to come together, this group has been with us for three years, last year we had great players but now they know what the expectations are…now they know what they have to do to win.”
The Milton rushing attack was without its most proven player, Treyvon Paulk, who is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury. That didn’t slow down the Eagles though as Milton ran for 188 yards on the night.
Leading 17-7 at the half, the Eagles came out and dominated the final two quarters, scoring three touchdowns and giving up only 92 yards to Wheeler.
Wheeler quarterback Elijah Staley did not play in the second half and the offense failed to find a rhythm without him.
Wheeler fell to 2-3 with the loss, but more importantly, it dropped to 0-2 in the region.
The Wildcats are not in unfamiliar waters though. The 2012 Wheeler football team also started region play 0-2 with losses to Etowah and Milton before winning three of the next five to make the state playoffs.
“We’re only one game removed from last year,” Wheeler coach Mike Collins said. “We circled the wagon last year, showed a lot of character, and that’s the challenge again this year. Try to get one win. All our team goals are still intact, it’s a little bit tougher but we’re still where we want to be.”
Wheeler took its opening drive 80 yards for a touchdown, capped by a 44-yard run by Jacobi Green.
A long punt return by Cameron Denman set up the Eagles at the Wheeler 12-yard line. Milton quickly scored on a Micco Brisker run to tie the game 7-7.
Milton used a 15-play drive in the second quarter to add a field goal making it 10-7.
The Eagles special teams contributed another big play before the half, blocking a punt with 29 second left to set up the Milton offense at the Wheeler 19. The Eagles capitalized on the next play as Austin Mcleod found Zach Spiezo in the back corner of the end zone to make it 17-7.