DEDHAM, Mass. -- The halfway point of the football season is a perfect time to take stock of what you have accomplished and what you need to continue to improve on.
On Saturday afternoon Milton Academy improved to 4-0 at the midpoint of their season, as they defeated Roxbury Latin, 33-14, on a damp and soggy afternoon in Dedham.
After going 5-3 in 2012, one would think that an undefeated ISL record at the mid-season mark would create happiness on the Mustang sideline.
“We have to play a lot better than that,” Milton Academy head coach Kevin MacDonald said after the game. “Roxbury Latin played us really tough today. They outplayed us in a lot of ways, especially in the first half, and we have to do a much better job offensively.”
Milton Academy has now outscored its first four opponents by a score of 145-69, and its veteran defensive unit is playing at a very high level.
“None of us are happy with the game today, which is weird because we won 33-14,” Milton Academy senior linebacker Matt Morin said after the game. “I actually think that is why it is clicking this year. We are never satisfied and we are always trying to get better each week, because being champions is the goal, not being 4-0.”
Both teams struggled early on in the game to find any offensive rhythm as the defensive fronts dictated play at the line of scrimmage, thus eliminating any offensive flow.
Milton Academy would get on the board first as freshman defensive back Michael Silva made a nice read and break on a Peter Cahill pass for a 13-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Roxbury Latin (1-3) would answer right back at the eight minute mark in the first quarter, as Cahill would execute a nice play action pass to find a streaking Sean Lowrie (104 receiving yards, one touchdown) down field for an 80-yard touchdown strike.
Lowrie’s touchdown would be the final Roxbury Latin score until the fourth quarter of play, as Milton Academy locked in and ran off 26 straight points.
The Milton Academy defense was led by defensive end Peter Graves, who had a career day and one of the better individual defensive efforts of the young season. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound senior was everywhere for the Mustangs, registering 4.5 sacks along with a key blocked punt, that was returned for a touchdown by teammate Sean Sylva.
“That was just a great play,” MacDonald said. “He was really something today.”
Roxbury Latin, playing without two of their top players in Boston College commit Kevin Cohee and junior Alex Abelite, played solid defense throughout the game despite battling unfavorable field position throughout.
Milton Academy running back Drew Jacobs continued his workhorse efforts for the victors as he gained 101 yards from scrimmage, including a 25-yard third quarter touchdown run.
Milton Academy also received strong games from safety Nelson Thomas, quarterback Anthony Scurto, defensive end William Medina (1.5 sacks) and running back Dom Frazier (45-yard third quarter touchdown run).
Roxbury Latin tight end/ defensive end Steven Daley (3-yard TD reception), defensive tackle Sean Rose, and linebacker Mark Goodstein all played well in the loss.
Impressive Senior Unit: The Milton Academy senior linebacking unit of OLBs Jacobs and Luke MacDonald and MLB Morin continued to show why they are one of the top units in New England.
Jacobs and MacDonald provided speed to the ball and contained the edge, while Morin led the unit from his middle linebacker position, stuffing the run and penetrating the backfield in the mold of run-stuffing Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes.
“Morin is just an outstanding football player,” Coach MacDonald said. “I think Luke MacDonald played real well today and Drew does it for us game in and game out.”
Morin came up with a big second half sack and made three tackles-for-loss, while MacDonald and Jacobs flew around the ball all afternoon.
“I think we really set the tone because we are all in for this season and we have been since last November,” Morin said of the veteran defensive group. “That mentality is contagious and it trickles down to underclassmen like Bobby Gilmore, Johnny Lawson, Jeff Brown, Mike Silva and Dom Cozier.”
The X-Factor: Despite connecting on just one of three field goal attempts, kicker Justin Yoon proved again why he is such an important factor in Milton Academy’s success.
Playing with a heavy heart, due to the passing of his grandfather on Saturday, Yoon executed 6-of-6 touchbacks on his kickoffs. The touchbacks forced Roxbury Latin to begin their offensive drives 80 yards away from the end zone.
“It is a great weapon for us,” MacDonald said. “It is just terrific when there are no returns, and there were none today."