Etowah (3-3, 1-2 Region 5AAAAAA) was down 35-0 by the middle of the second quarter, and despite a late charge at the end of the first half, it was never able to climb back into the game.
Etowah coach Dave Svehla was quick to credit Milton (5-1, 3-0) for earning the win.
“Milton came out and earned the win,” he said. “We have to give them credit.”
Milton was in total control in the first quarter and scored three touchdowns in less than 10 minutes.
After receiving the kickoff, it took the visiting Eagles less than 5 minutes to drive 75 yards on 12 plays, with running back Peyton Barber capping the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
After Etowah went four-and-out and was forced to punt the ball, Milton scored four plays later, when running back Treyvon Paulk ran it in from 37 yards out.
Milton scored again with less than 4 minutes to go in the quarter off of a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback A.J. Bush.
The second quarter opened much like the first, with Barber scoring on 6-yard touchdown run to put Milton up 28-0 with less than a minute gone.
Bush soon scored his second 1-yard rushing touchdown of the night, just 3 minutes later.
Just as it seemed that the second quarter would play out much like the first, Etowah’s offense finally responded.
After driving into Milton’s red zone, third-string quarterback Robbie Knox — starting in the place of injured QBs Reeves Johnson and John Oliver — threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bryce Coroi to put Etowah on the scoreboard.
But Milton added back to its lead less than 2 minutes later, off of Jordan Genovese’s 44-yard field goal.
Then, with barely more than a minute to go, Etowah running back Brandon Engle turned a short pass from Knox and broke free for a 78-yard touchdown.
After Milton was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, with 14 seconds remaining in the half, it seemed as if Etowah would go into the half down 38-14.
However, after a 9-yard gain, Knox found wide receiver Cory Burdett in the corner of the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown pass as time expired, pulling Etowah within 17 at 38-21.
Etowah was outscored in the second half 21-6, however, and its comeback never materialized.
The Eagles’ lone score came midway through the fourth quarter, when Ben Rowell returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.
Svehla was disappointed with the team’s performance.
“It just wasn’t very good,” he said. “We weren’t very good in a lot of areas. We’re not going to point the finger at any one person, any one side of the ball, or any one thing. It was a variety of things.”
Engle led the Eagles with 44 yards on 11 carries, not to mention his long touchdown reception, while Knox was 12-of-21 passing for 221 yards and three touchdowns.