Boston High School: Michael Silva

Recap: Milton Academy 22, Governor's 6

October, 25, 2014
Oct 25
BYFIELD, Mass. -- Two words came to mind Saturday: old school.

Two physical, run-first teams lined up across from each other on a muddy field. Each team knew what the other liked to do and neither team deviated from that plan unless it absolutely had to. One team was looking to avenge a late-season loss to the other from the previous season. In the end, the visiting team won. Milton Academy defeated the previously-undefeated Governor’s Academy for the second year in a row, this time 22-6.

“What I told the kids is that I want to be able to say we’re the best team in the league when this thing is all said and done,” said Milton Academy coach Kevin MacDonald. “Of course we have to get by these guys to do that. We beat these guys big last year (35-14) so I know they had revenge on their mind. We knew we had to step it up and play great football today. They’re so tough and so physical. It’s always good to beat the best and they’ve been the best team in the ISL the last three years.”

Midway through the first quarter, Gov’s (5-1) faced a fourth down from its own 37. The punter, William Dwyer, was not able to field the snap cleanly and fumbled the ball away at his own 22. On the first play of Milton’s (4-2) offensive possession, sophomore Michael Silva (63 yards rushing, 73 receiving yards, 68 yards passing, 3 total TD) took a handoff and ran off left tackle away from the defense for a 22-yard touchdown.

He made his presence felt again in the second when quarterback James Fadule (3-for-7, 120 yards, TD) fed him a short swing pass that he took 73 yards down the Governor’s Academy sideline. The Mustangs had a 12-0 lead with 2:19 to go in the half.

“This was a huge game,” said Silva. “We knew we were coming out onto this field and we just wanted to give it our all every play. This win was huge for us.”

Gov’s ran an effective two-minute drill and got the ball into enemy territory with less than a minute left. A Milton pass interference penalty put the ball at the 20. On the next play from scrimmage, Seth Harrell scrambled in the pocket under duress and got a pass off to the middle of the endzone. In a stroke of luck, the ball went over the outstretched hands of a Gov’s receiver and landed in Zach Coffey’s arms for the touchdown.

The Mustangs took a 12-6 lead into halftime. After a back-and-forth third, Justin Yoon nailed a 28-yard field goal to make it a two-score game.

Later in the quarter, Milton had the ball and Gov’s coach Jim O’Leary knew he had to start using his timeouts to stop the clock. Rather than run three times and punt the ball away, MacDonald felt it was a good time to call for some gadgetry. Fadule gave the ball to Silva on a sweep to the right. The cornerback pinched down to set the edge, anticipating Silva cutting up field at some point. Instead, he pulled up and heaved the ball to a streaking Domenic Cozier for a 68-yard touchdown.

“We practiced that yesterday and that was like, the one trick play we had,” said the sophomore. “I just gave it my all. I bombed it as far as I could. I took a tough shot, but I just had to get the ball out. I saw him wide open and just bombed it. All I’m hearing was it was a horrible throw, but we scored so that’s all that matters.”

Gov’s turned the ball over on downs on its next possession. Milton ran out the clock, giving the home team its first loss of the season.

— For the last four years, Governor’s Academy has been at the top of the Independent School League. Two years ago, it had an undefeated season. In its quest for a repeat last season, it ran into this same Milton team. Even though it is still in line to go to a Bowl at the end of the season, losing to the same team twice stings, especially for a team not used to losing.

“They have a great coaching staff, they prepare their guys really well,” said O’Leary. “I think they’re tough kids. Milton is always tough. Gov’s and Milton play that same hard-nosed football, so hat’s off to Coach Mac and his staff. Their guys really came to play. They deserved it today.”

— The rain that hit the region earlier in the week saturated the field to such a degree that as the game wore on, the players had difficulty planting and cutting when they tried to change direction. By the time the game was over, the area between the hash marks was so torn up that much of the grass was replaced by mud. Both special teams units were effected by the conditions, causing both teams opportunities at much-needed points.

After Milton Academy’s first quarter touchdown, Notre Dame commit Justin Yoon lined up for the extra point. The normally-automatic senior made solid contact with the football, but it sailed left of the upright.

With his kicker apprehensive of his footing and seeing an opportunity to get back that lost point, MacDonald decided to go for two after Milton’s second quarter touchdown. Dominic Cozier took the jet sweep to the right and was swallowed up by the defense. The Mustangs had a two-score lead, which was cut in half when Harrell hit Zach Coffey with a touchdown pass just before halftime.

Yoon spent all of the 15-minute halftime practicing kicks, trying to get a better feel for the surface. He redeemed himself in the fourth quarter when he nailed a 28-yard field goal on the same side of the field he missed on earlier to put his team up by two scores.

“I don’t think Justin really felt good after that first kick,” said MacDonald. “He slipped, and I don’t think he was that excited about kicking a second one. We gauged that and we went for two. With the field goal later, we were in better turf. We weren’t right in the muck of the three-yard line. If anything, believe it or not the conditions seemed to get better as the game went on because we had the sun evaporating a little bit of that water, but it was still awful. We were worried coming into the game this was going to be the type of weather they love.”

Governor’s Academy had its share of problems with the surface as well. The team is notorious for its physical, smashmouth style of play with a heavy emphasis on its running game and playing defense. However, with players struggling to find their footing, it was forced to alter its offensive playbook.

“We run the ball a lot and we’ve got some great receivers,” said O’Leary. “The problem was getting the ball to the quarterback in the mud and letting him throw the ball. At times we said it’s too hard to throw it, it was that bad out there. So now not only can you not run, but the passing game is not so great either.”

Recap: St. Sebastian's 28, Milton Academy 0

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
NEEDHAM, Mass. – Their season may have begun later than most teams in the state, but St. Sebastian’s football didn’t waste much time once the Arrows got on the field.

On the Arrows’ first offensive play of the season, senior quarterback Geoff Wade hit sophomore Tommy Seidl on a deep in route, and the versatile playmaker broke it for a 64-yard touchdown.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to start today,” Seidl said after the game. “But coach called a great play at the start and we executed it.”

Milton Academy didn’t overreact. The Mustangs moved the ball effectively throughout the first half thanks to an effective read option-based offense. Junior quarterback James Fadule and junior back Michael Silva each carried the ball eight times, and combined to tally 101 rushing yards as the visitors kept the score manageable heading into the break.

However, the beginning of the second half may have seemed awfully familiar to Milton’s players. This time, the Arrows broke a huge play on second down when Wade hit sophomore Jack Frisoli on a shallow out route. Seidl sprung his classmate with a crushing crack back block, and the speedy Frisoli took it 78 yards down the sideline to greet a throng of enthusiastic Sebastian’s students in the back of the end zone.

“They were in man coverage,” Seidl said, “and I saw that the guy that was covering me was running over to get Frisoli. I did what I had to do to stop him, that’s our team. We do what we have to do.”

St. Sebastian’s head coach Bob Souza credited his outstanding wide receivers after the game.

“We have some great athletes on the perimeter, and it’s very tough to matchup with us. Our best players stepped up and made plays on both sides of the ball, and Milton made a few mistakes that kind of opened the door for us.”

Frisoli’s long touchdown seemed to be worth more than six points since it clearly invigorated the St. Sebastian’s sidelines, and got the home crowd into the game. On Milton’s next possession, junior Domenic Cozier lost the football in a crowd, and Arrows captain Tyson Reed recovered the fumble to set the offense up with a short field. Senior back Edosa Onaiwu (10 carries, 55 yards) punched in a 13-yard touchdown three plays later, and St. Sebastian’s suddenly led 21-0 four minutes into the second half.

Things continued to go awry for the Mustangs on their next drive when the long snapper sailed the ball over the head of ESPN Boston’s No. 1 Massachusetts-based prospect, Justin Yoon, and the senior kicker was forced to fall on the pigskin at his team’s 20-yard line.

By the time Wade threw his third touchdown pass of the afternoon, Milton seemed prepared to get out of town without suffering any season-altering injuries, and Yoon was not seen again with the punting unit.

The final score was decidedly lopsided, but Souza maintains “yards did not come easy for us. It was a real physical game, which is how these rivalry games have gone over the years. This is a big win for us, and hopefully something we can build on going into next week.”

A True Every Down Player: Milton Academy sophomore Michael Silva played every single down of their season opener. He rushed 12 times for 67 yards, picked off Geoff Wade twice as a defensive back, and even filled-in capably as a punter when Yoon was removed from the game.

Fadule and Silva will be an exciting backfield tandem to watch this season.

Adjusting On The Fly: The Arrows gave up 110 yards on the ground in the first half, but held Milton to just 21 rushing yards over the Mustangs’ first four drives in the second half.

The biggest difference seems to have been St. Sebastian’s ability to contain the read option that Fadule and Milton Academy featured so prominently throughout the first half.

“We’ve been playing [Milton] for a long time so we knew it was coming, but we have a lot of new starters that hadn’t seen it live,” Souza said. “We talked to them throughout the game about staying home, not getting too far up field, and we were able to do a better job stopping it in the second half.”

In the first half, Fadule carried the ball five times for 31 yards out of read option looks, but was held to -1 yards on three such carries in the second half. Along with Tyson Reed, linebackers Blake Gallagher and Tyler Wilk helped the Arrows defense contain the Mustangs’ rushing attack by employing the necessary adjustments.

“That’s how we teach it,” said Souza. “It’s built into the kids that we’re going to adjust as a defensive unit. Even if we encounter something we’ve never seen, we have calls to adjust to that, so we feel like we’re always going to be sound defensively no matter what the opponent shows up in.”

St. Sebastian’s 28, Milton Academy 0
STS 7 0 14 7 --- 28
M.A. 0 0 0 0 --- 0

First Quarter
S – Tommy Seidl 64 pass from Geoff Wade (PAT good) 7:35

Third Quarter
S – Jack Frisoli 78 pass from Geoff Wade (PAT good) 10:55
S – Edosa Onaiwu 13 run (PAT good) 7:54

Fourth Quarter
S – Matt Daniel 25 pass from Geoff Wade (PAT good) 7:27

Recap: Milton Academy 35, Governor's Academy 14

October, 27, 2013
MILTON, Mass. --- The two top teams in the ISL took the field on Saturday in a pivotal league match-up between undefeated (5-0) powers, Governor’s Academy and Milton Academy.

Gov’s entered Saturday’s game riding a state-best 23-game winning streak, dating back to opening day 2011.

“We knew about the winning streak and we set our minds on staying sharp all week during practice and preparing as a team.” Milton Academy safety Nelson Thomas said after the game. “We were focused on coming out and putting our foot to the gas peddle right away.”

Milton Academy would do just that, as they led from start to finish, en route to a convincing, 35-14, victory over the two-time defending league champions.

“It was just a great win,” Milton Academy head coach Kevin MacDonald said after the game. “Beating a team like that and beating them soundly was kind of a surprise and just terrific.”

Milton Academy (6-0) was led by running back Drew Jacobs, who played like a man possessed on the afternoon, starring on both sides of the ball and running for 194 yards and four touchdowns (3 rushing, 1 INT).

“Winning the ISL has been our goal all along, from day one,” Jacobs explained. “This was a great win but we need to keep working each day to accomplish our ultimate goals.”

Jacobs would make an immediate impact on the game as he intercepted a first quarter pass and returned it 40 yards for a score, to give the Mustangs a 7-0 first quarter lead.

“I thought our defense did a terrific job and Drew Jacobs, as usual, was just great,” MacDonald said.

Milton quarterback Anthony Scurto showed impressive leadership, calmly running the offense all afternoon, as he picked his spots to shine.

After a key fourth down stop and leading 14-7 Scurto would conclude the first half by scrambling and finding wide receiver Jack Urquhart in the end zone, with 9.6 seconds remaining in the first half, to give the Mustangs a critical 21-7 halftime lead.

Big Play Second Half: It would become apparent that big plays would dictate Saturday’s game as the second half featured numerous swing plays that would favor the Mustangs.

Known for their frequent second half comebacks, Gov’s seized momentum at numerous points in the second half, only to be thwarted by the Milton Academy defense.

Milton defensive back Jack Cahill made the play of the game as he dove to break up a pass over the middle, rolled over on the ground, and still managed to bring in the interception.

Milton defensive end Peter Graves, who has been a presence in opposing backfields all season, made the game-sealing defensive play as he exploded off the line and recorded a strip sack, that teammate William Medina would recover, late in the fourth quarter of play.

“The biggest thing today is that we just made the big plays,” MacDonald stressed.

Game Notes:
  • With two games remaining on the 2013 ISL football calendar Milton Academy now controls their own fate as they sit on top of the ISL with a 6-0 record. St. Sebastian’s defeated previously undefeated BB&N on Friday, 24-14.
  • Milton Academy freshman cornerback Michael Silva continued to impress with his veteran-like abilities and phenomenal ball skills. Silva intercepted his fifth pass of the season in the second half to give him the unofficial league lead through six games.
  • Despite not kicking any field goals on Saturday junior standout Justin Yoon showed his extreme value once again as his once-in-a-generation leg consistently booted touchbacks and gave Gov’s (5-1) little room to work with all afternoon.
  • Milton punter Austin Johnson, who MacDonald highlighted and praised after the game, also played a large role in the contest as he pinned Gov’s deep on multiple occasions and showed beautiful technique and execution punting the football.
  • Gov’s quarterback Tommy Vailas tossed two touchdowns to account for both scores as he found Jesse Gwozdz and Zach Coffey in the first and second half respectively.
  • Gov’s standout and All ISL performer Bug Carper left Saturday’s game with an apparent serious ankle injury. The North Carolina lacrosse commit, who is one of the top all-around athletes in the ISL, was injured on a play in which he ran the ball into a pile of Milton defenders, only to be bent back deep in Milton territory.
  • Gwozdz continued to show why he is regarded as one of the top overall players in New England. The Fairfield lacrosse commit, made plays in all three facets of the game, and showed his versatility out of the offensive backfield, as well as usual strong play from the outside edge on defense.

Recap: Milton Academy 33, Roxbury Latin 14

October, 12, 2013
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."

Recap: Milton Academy 31, St. Seb's 27

September, 21, 2013
MILTON, Mass. –- If St. Sebastian’s and Milton Academy had played five minutes longer on Saturday afternoon, we could very well have seen a different result. In a fast-paced offensive game that was back-and-forth the whole second half, Milton was able to pull out the victory over the visiting Arrows, 31-27.

Drew Jacobs anchored the Mustangs’ (1-0) offensive attack with 139 yards, making his presence felt during Milton’s furious second half comeback.

St. Sebastian’s (0-1) Boston College-bound two-way star Connor Strachan (13 carries, 110 yards, TD) made his presence felt right off the bat on the Arrows’ first two drives. St. Sebastian’s finished with two touchdowns on the opening drives to show for their effort. Strachan ran in a three-yard touchdown, while quarterback Geoff Wade (8-10, 118 yards, 3 TD, INT) threw a touchdown pass to Matt Daniel (4 rec, 53 yards, 3 TD) to put the Arrows up 14-3 early on.

Enter Jacobs.

Playing hurt and with his team in desperate need of a big play, Jacobs came up with just that, bringing a kick return back 74 yards, setting up the Mustangs in prime position at the Arrows' six yardline. On the next play, Jacobs ran in a touchdown to bring the score to 14-10.

“The guys blocked for me well, I was able to keep my feet. I’m too slow so I couldn’t get in the endzone,” he joked.

Minutes later, St. Sebastian’s extended the lead once again, on Matt Daniels’ second touchdown catch of the day. The play was made possible by tight end Tyson Mattox, who laid down a big block to open up a hole for Daniels. The Mustangs were able to answer before the end of the half though, on a beautifully thrown ball by Anthony Scurto to receiver Domenic Cozier. Cozier, a re-classified sophomore who came to Milton by way of Milford High School, made an awe-inspiring catch in the back of the endzone to bring the lead down to four right before halftime.

“He’s gonna be good, he’s a 4.5 40 guy; he’s got wheels," Milton coach Kevin MacDonald said. "He’s fast, he’s a good player. He’s a repeat sophomore from Milford High, but he was a running back there, and we’ve got him playing receiver and a little defense too. He’s a very good player."

The Mustangs made a couple slight defensive adjustments at halftime, and the changes paid dividends immediately, as freshman defensive back Michael Silva picked up a St. Sebastian’s fumble and brought it back 45 yards to the end zone, giving Milton their first lead of the ballgame.

“We did a horrible job in the first half, but we did a nice job in the second half," MacDonald said. "We switched a couple guys from defensive end to tackle, that helped, and we went to a four-point stance and we got under them. That second half defense was great."

Wade found Daniel once again minutes later. It was their third hookup of the day, giving the Arrows back the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Milton’s offense answered one last time though, as Scurto threw an 18-yard touchdown pass with 9:16 left in the fourth quarter, giving Milton a 31-27 lead.

“The offense played well the whole game, we didn’t get stopped too many times," MacDonald said. "Our running game was good the offensive line did a great job, and our quarterback is a veteran -- he’s a good player and he made plays when he had to."

It was Milton’s defense though, that gave the Mustangs possession with just over three minutes to go, following an interception by Luke MacDonald. Thereafter, Milton fed Jacobs the ball in hope that a few more first downs would help them seal the win.

Once again, the senior answered the call, breaking off for three straight first downs.

“Drew Jacobs was terrific. He was not 100 percent we didn’t know if he was going to play, but he did a great job,” Maconald said. “He’s a great player, he’s been a great player for three years. He’s arguably the best player in the league, so it’s not a shock. What was shocking is that he wasn’t able to practice all week, he was banged up, but it didn’t seem to affect him much.”

Jacobs said the emotion of playing a St. Sebastian’s team which has beaten Milton two years in a row was all the motivation he needed to step on the field.

“It was all adrenaline. We’ve been talking about this game all summer, we lost to them the last two years in close games, so this is the greatest win ever, this is awesome,” Jacobs said, with a bottle of ibuprofen in hand. “We’ve got St. George’s next week, so we’ll enjoy it tonight and get back to work Monday.”