Milton High’s Second State Football Title is Testament to Resilience
Resilient is the best way to describe Milton High School’s state-champion football team.
“Our kids’ resiliency was unmatched,” said Athletic Director Kory Keys. “They lost a couple of games early in the season, and they used those games as motivation to bounce back. Every time a game got difficult down the stretch, they were unflappable. It’s a testament to their toughness and the coaches’ belief in them.”
Head football coach Ben Reaves, Jr. agrees: “This team was doubted all year long, just like we were in 2018, but this team also never doubted themselves regardless of what the ‘outside voices’ were saying. They kept improving, believing, and playing hard week after week and ultimately achieved what we all knew we could as long as we continued to do those three things all season long.”
Since their 2018 state championship, the Milton High School football team stats have been impressive. They have won six straight region titles and logged 33 straight region wins. Their returning senior class has played in 44/45 games in their high school career. They were 2021 state runner-up and 2022 semifinalists for the championship. They finished the 2023 season ranked #11 in the country, according to Max Preps, which ranks high school football.
Key players in the 2023 state championship win who will not return were linebackers Jacorey Stewart and Jack Lawson. Wide receivers Marc Essley and Debron Gatling played key roles along with defensive lineman Drew Cohen. Returning next year to the championship team are quarterback Luke Nickel, linebacker Hayden Tumminia, kicker Alex Nover and cornerback Ty Redmond.
“Luke Nickel was the 7A Player of the Year in my opinion,” Keys said. “He is as good a high school quarterback as I’ve ever seen. The majority of our roster returns next season, so I would expect another hungry bunch of players eager to repeat.”
“Seeing the kids enjoy the championship parade in December was a perfect bow on top of the whole season,” Keys continued. “That trophy will be in the trophy cases of Milton High School for years to come, putting the team’s dedication and commitment on display.”
And the team win is shared by the community.
“The Milton community pours so much love and support into our program,” Reaves said. "From player, to parent, to supporter everyone in this community understands they have a role, an important one, and when we win the community knows it’s for everyone.”