ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The 7A eighth-ranked Milton Eagles and 6A fifth-ranked Roswell Hornets will meet in their annual rivalry tonight. The series, dating back over 70 years, has seen 68 games since 1950. The Hornets hold a 38-29 lead in the series but Milton has won the last four meetings. The 2022 season saw both teams make the semifinals with Milton losing to eventual 7A State Champion Mill Creek, and Roswell losing a classic to 6A runner-up Gainesville. The week four meeting between the two last season saw a shockingly defensive battle where Milton edged out the Hornets and took home the 14-7 win.
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Both teams are headlined by power-five talent, with Milton led on offense by Class of 2025 quarterback and Miami (FL) commit Luke Nickel. The Eagles have him surrounded with a group of pass catchers second to none. The receiving corps is headlined by four-star wide receiver CJ Wiley and four-star tight end Ryan Ghea. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles are led by Kansas-commit linebacker Debron Gatlin and the cornerback duo of Tennessse-commit Shamar Arnoux and Dylan Lewis lead a dominant pass defense.
The Hornets don’t lack talent on the defensive front, with two power-five recruits in Virginia-commit Chase Marison and Kobby Sakyi-Prah who anchor a defensive line that has given up only 21 points through its first two games. On offense, Roswell is led by four-star tackle and Notre Dame-commit Anthonie Knapp who is opening holes for star running back Nykahi Davenport. Davenport was dominate in 2022, rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns.
The two teams have been very similar defensively with the Hornets only giving up 21 points through three games and Milton giving up 27 through its first two games. However, they couldn’t be more different offensively. Roswell has been dominant with it’s balanced offense, running and passing the ball extremely effectively, leading to the team scoring 163 points through only three games, the most in the first three games in school history.
When asked about the fast start to the season Coach Prewett had this to say. “It’s been a good start to the year for sure. If I sat here and said I thought we would have that kind of spread over the first three games, I don’t know if I would be telling the truth. I think the biggest thing, being that it is my fourth year here, these kids believe in what we are doing, and they’ve bought in 100%. There has never been a question of what we are doing, a question of why we are doing something. There has never been a thought of anything other than this is what we need to do to be successful. And I think now, this senior class, this year four for them, I think we finally have gotten to where it’s what they know, it’s what they believe, it’s how they walk, it’s how they talk, it’s how they act all the time.”
Milton has aired the ball out with its running backs only getting 33 carries compared to the 52 passes thrown this season, battling tough defenses and conditions in the last two games. The Eagles have been tested by a dominant Collins Hill defensive line and a very good Western (FL) team with standing water on the field, not allowing Milton to show its full offensive potential.
“We have a lot of weapons out wide and a great quarterback,” said Milton head coach Ben Reaves. “You know, the way our OC, Coach Jackson, calls plays is he wants the ball put in the air. He wants the ball put into the kids’ hands to make a play or not. Thankfully, more times than not, they are making those plays. Normally, on a high school football team, especially when you drop four receivers out there, sometimes there’s one you’re hiding or hoping the ball doesn’t go to in many years. This year, we got up to six guys who are just really talented players, and we feel good with the ball going to any of them. And when you add the quarterback into the mix, it doesn’t make sense not to put it in the air.”
Friday’s game will be broadcast live on Peachtree TV at 8 p.m., or you can click here to stream the game on Atlanta News First.
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