Scroll to bottom of story to see Milford Felt's Facts
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)
Sophomore Wade Netto takes over the reigns at quarterback a year after rushing for 277 yards and three TDs as a running back. The rodeo kid is the latest in a long line of Netto brothers to play for Milford. Coach Williamson said he’s a great option quarterback. Braxton Higgins was slated to start at fullback, but his family moved to Cedar City in July. That opens the door for Kayden Noyes to step into the starting fullback role. Center Jacob Swanson is the lone starting senior on the team, and he’s the cornerstone of the team in both leadership and talent.
(9 returning starters)
Milford conceded 32 ppg last season — not bad when you consider the number of freshman who started. The coaching staff is hoping an extra year of maturity makes a difference in 2012. Noyes will anchor the linebacking core. Williamson said he has great lateral pursuits, and he’d put him up against any player in 1A. Doug Hathaway will be a strong nose tackle, and even though he’s a sophomore, Williamson said he has a senior body. Free safety Carson Henry had a great summer, and at Weber State’s 7-on-7 camp he was very good at reading the quarterback and snatching some interceptions.
Coaches preseason 1A South straw poll: Third
Deseret News 1A South prediction: Third
Bottom line: Milford is much more suited to compete at the varsity level this season with an extra year of maturity for the majority of its starters. Realistically though, the team is still just a bunch of sophomores with a steep learning curve ahead. It should win a few more games than last year, but it’s probably still a year or two away from competing with the big boys in 1A.
Aug. 17 — SUMMIT ACADEMY, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at White Pine, Nev., 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 — WHITEHORSE 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at Duchesne, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — at Layton Christian, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — DIAMOND RANCH, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — RICH, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — at Monument Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — Bye
Oct. 18 — MONTICELLO, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Milford High School
All-time record: 201-363-11 (70 years)
Region championships: 3 (1990, 1991, 1999 co)
Playoff appearances: 26
All-time playoff record: 12-25
State championships: 1 (1993)
State championship record: 1-1
Most played rivalry: 80 meetings with Parowan dating back to 1949. Milford leads 42-35-3. Last met in 2011.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Tiger Jared Barnes holds the record for single-game safeties (tied with one other), 2, against Duchesne in 1993. ... Mike Grajek is one of only 18 coaches to win a state title in his first year (1993).
Milford coaching history
2010-current — Brian Williamson (5-16)
2007-2009 — Robert Langston (8-24)
2000-2006 — Ricky Rose (22-51)
1999 — Daren Cheney (9-3)
1995-1998 — Robert Langston (14-23)
1994 — Franklin Bramall (9-2)
1993 — Mike Grajek (7-3)
1992 — Cleve Weaver (6-5)
1990-1991 — Brennan Jackson (18-4)
1986-1989 — Marvin Magalei (7-26)
1980-1985 — Kevin Barnes (25-28)
1978-1979 — Joe Hillock (2-13)
1977 — Dave Houle (1-7)
1976 — Monte Lee (2-6)
1973-1975 — Bob Andrus (9-20)
1968-1972 — unknown (13-28-2)
1967 — Dick Payne (0-7)
1964-1966 — Ivan Rowley (9-14-1)
1963 — unknown (3-4)
1962 — Jerry Davids (1-6)
1953-1961 — Lee Petty (22-39-3)
1949-1952 — unknown (3-19-2)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2011 — Mauricio Hernandez, WR/DB
2010 — Chad Netto, OL/LB
2009 — Jacob Idhe, QB/FS
2009 — Chris Manuele, OL/DL
2008 — Cade Boyter, RB/LB
2006 — Blake Williams, RB/LB
2003 — Damon Carter, OL/LB
2001 — Rusty Pearson, RB
2001 — Curtis Craw, LBComment on this story
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.