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Milford runs all over Franklin in 43-24 win

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FRANKLIN — Milford has a strong-armed, accurate quarterback, with speedy, sure-handed receivers.

But in Friday night’s Hockomock League Kelley-Rex Division showdown with Franklin, the Milford coaches decided they didn’t need all that.

Behind a powerful rushing attack that took over early, Milford ran over Franklin, 43-24, to head into next week’s Division 2 playoffs with some serious momentum.

The three-headed monster of running backs Romeo Holland and Nick Araujo, and quarterback Evan Cornelius, posted 300 rushing yards and five of the Scarlet Hawks’ six touchdowns.

The offensive line of Oliver McKee, Ryan O’Connor, Keith Lee, Anthony Dew, and Tyler Potter paved the way for Holland to put up 144 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, Araujo to post 87 yards and a score on 13 attempts, and Cornelius to plow ahead for 69 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

Cornelius also threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Rivera in the second quarter, as Franklin simply could not stop Milford’s offense all night.

“I looked at the guys at halftime, I said, ‘We might not throw a forward pass because every time we run it, it’s 4-5-6 (yards), 4-5-6, 4-5-6,’ ” Milford coach Dale Olson said. “That’s a testament to our guys up front. They dug in and pushed around a good Franklin team tonight. I couldn’t be prouder of our kids.”

Milford improves to 7-1 overall, 3-1 in the league, while Franklin drops to 5-2, 3-1.

Franklin’s offense did not move the ball much on the ground, but quarterback Jase Lyons threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns. One of them was a 4-yard score to Grayson Hunter and that pulled the Panthers to within 21-17 in the third quarter.

But Milford simply went back to the ground game. Holland broke about a half-dozen tackles on a rumbling, 54-yard gain that set up a Cornelius 3-yard touchdown.

Lyons responded with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Luke Davis (9 catches, 186 yards, 2 TD) to cut the deficit to 28-24.

Milford again answered with its ground attack, and moved right down the field and scored on a Cornelius 3-yard rush early in the fourth quarter. Araujo’s two-point rush made it 36-24.

Holland made a sack on the next possession and he closed it out with a 1-yard touchdown to help complete the scoring.

“Myself, I love to get downhill,” Holland said. “I love to put my head down and just run. That’s how football should be, and that’s where I came from. That’s how I grew up, smashmouth football.”

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