MILTON — There was no chance any of the starters on Milton’s Division 3 Super Bowl-bound football team were going to sit this one out. Not against Thanksgiving rival Braintree. And not with an undefeated season, a chance to cement the Bay State Conference title outright, and retaining possession of the George Ramicourt Memorial Trophy for the fourth year in a row on the line.
It would have been against Milton’s competitive nature, particularly for its seniors, if the Wildcats sat idly by in the 92nd meeting against Braintree.
“Yeah, I would’ve been fuming on the sideline,” said senior quarterback Owen McHugh. “We were healthy, we were ready, and we wanted to take it to them.”
And that’s precisely what McHugh and Milton succeeded in doing in a 42-0 shellacking of Braintree (4-7) Thursday at Brooks Field. Milton (11-0) leads the series, 50-41-1.
McHugh left no doubt with a strong statement before next Saturday’s Super Bowl date against Wakefield by throwing four touchdown passes, connecting with senior wide receiver Dillon Mackenzie on scoring tosses of 3, 4, and 10 yards.
While other Super Bowl-bound coaches might have fretted the decision to sit or play their starters on Thanksgiving, there was no such dilemma for Milton coach Steve Dembowski.
“If they weren’t healthy, and didn’t practice, they weren’t going to play,” Dembowski said. “I feel like we were deep enough that we can handle a couple of kids sitting out. As it was, we did have a couple of kids get nicked but we were able to play without them and still play well.”
After taking a 7-0 lead on McHugh’s 3-yard toss to Mackenzie, the Wildcats survived a bit of a scare in the first quarter when senior captain Jack Finnegan, Milton’s offensive dynamo, departed the game with an ankle injury after he got spun around fighting for yardage after a 23-yard run.
Junior backup Nathan Ehui entered the fray and scored on a 4-yard TD run, but the sight of Finnegan trotting back out onto the field for the point-after provided some reassurance.
“I’m fine, I’ll be all right,” said Finnegan, who followed McHugh’s 4-yard TD toss to Mackenzie with an 11-yard run to give the Wildcats a 27-0 halftime lead.
Finnegan halted the Wamps’ first offensive series of the second half when he intercepted Braintree quarterback James Tellier at the Milton 40. Eight plays later, Milton capitalized when McHugh found Shane Olsen with an 8-yard TD strike to make it 34-0.
McHugh capped the scoring with 10:48 left when he found Mackenzie on a 10-yard TD pass and tacked on the 2-point conversion with a toss to senior tight end Sean Donovan.
“That’s a great paper weight, but we want the big one for the book shelf,” Dembowski said. “This group has worked hard all year long and we now have some extra time to prep and learn about Wakefield. We’re going to have our work cut out for us, but we’re going to go in there with momentum.”
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.