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Note: Milford finished with a 2-8 overall record and a 2-2 record in the 1A South Region in 2011. It lost to Monticello, 64-30, in the first round of the 1A playoffs.
Milford’s football team might’ve redefined the phrase "young and inexperienced" last season. It started eight freshman, and not surprisingly struggled to a 2-8 record.
Coach Brian Williamson’s team will be young again this season with primarily sophomore contributors, but he loves their potential and believes the program is heading in the right direction.
“I’m trying to change the culture. It’s been a long time since Milford took state — it’s been over 20 years. A whole generation has passed,” said Williamson, who is now in his third year as head coach. “The memory of a state championship is hard to bring back, so I just had to start fresh. We’re building a program from the ground up.”
The kids haven’t hesitated buying into Williamson’s vision and long-term plan, and weren’t discouraged by last year’s beat downs. Milford’s only two victories were against Monument Valley and Milford. In its eight losses, it was outscored 345-83.
The Tigers expect to win a few more games this season, but will still take some lumps along the way. That’s OK with Williamson — it’s part of paying the price to build a program.
“I’m sure by next year we’ll be something to see especially with all the young kids we have,” said Williamson
Physically, Milford just couldn’t compete at the varsity level last season. The Tigers worked hard in the weight room this offseason to close the gap, but the bottom line is most of the players are still sophomores.
What they lack in size defensively though, they make up for with speed.
“We’re going to have a lot of linebacker types. We’re just going to have to run to the ball and gang tackle,” said Williamson. “We’re teaching that every single play everybody has to touch the ball.”
Milford gave up far too many big plays for Williamson’s liking last year, but he’s hoping his young defense takes on a bend-but-don’t-break mentality this time around.
For players like cornerback Nathan Barnes and safety Carson Henry, they’re getting used to Williamson’s slogan, “get beat deep, you take a seat.” He’d rather have the players take a penalty than give up an 50-yard touchdown pass.
As young as Milford will be, the one area it has a bit of leadership to draw upon is in the trenches. Offensive and defensive lineman Jacob Swanson is the lone senior starter on the team, and Williamson said it’s like having another coach on the field.
“He’s a great leader, a great young man. He’s a straight-A student, knows the offense about as well as some of the coaches. He’s able to teach the kids a lot,” said Williamson.
Milford’s only two junior starters are also linemen, Lucas O’Daniel and Gabe Thompson.
Milford Tigers at a glance
Coach: Brian Williamson is entering his third year as head coach at Milford after putting together a 5-16 record his first two seasons. He’s a graduate of Coral Gables High School in Florida.
(7 returning starters; Option offense)