We weren’t scared. The kids came out and knew they could beat Kanab. You have to get over it mentally before you can physically and we did that. —Milford head coach Thane Marshall
OGDEN — It all goes back to Nov. 3, 2016, for the Milford Tigers. It was on that day, the day before their semifinal contest against the eventual 1A state champion Duchesne Eagles, that star running back/defensive back Ty Netto was hospitalized.
“The night before the semifinals last year he had an emergency appendectomy down here in the hospital,” Milford head coach Thane Marshall said.
The Tigers were a shell of themselves without Netto the following day, falling to Duchesne 47-0.
“He is not only our physical leader but our emotional leader,” said Marshall. “It showed that day.”
That loss was the impetus behind these Tigers' goal to host a playoff game, win their region (1A South), reach the state championship game, and claim the title.
After Friday afternoon’s 38-20 beatdown of region rival Kanab, at Weber State’s Stewart Stadium, three of those four goals have been accomplished.
“We are on task so far,” said Marshall.
The win propels the Tigers to the 1A state title game, to be played Saturday, Nov. 11 at Southern Utah University.
The key player in the Milford win, was, as has been the case for much of his high school career, Ty Netto.
The senior was excellent, rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Netto also hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass and threw a 28-yard pass for good measure.
“Everybody looks up to Ty,” said Marshall. “He just goes out there and does the little stuff. You look at the stat sheet and he is probably close to 100 yards rushing and he had an interception called back too."
The Tigers also benefitted from the play of quarterback Bryson Barnes, who completed 14 passes for 238 yards and three scores and rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown.
“These kids have been working for this for four years, these seniors,” said Marshall. “This is the first time in Milford High School history that we have won double-digit football games.”
“We showed up tonight,” added Netto. “We did what we needed to do.”
From that point on, however, it was all Milford.
The Tigers scored back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter, courtesy of a 10-yard Netto run and his 67-yard reception, all the while shutting out the Cowboys.
“I give all the credit to my big guys,” said Netto. “The front line is where it starts and I wouldn’t have done it without them.”
As for the Tigers defensive excellence Netto noted, “Everybody did their assignments. That’s what it takes to win a football game.”
The second half was all Milford all the time, save for some late fourth-quarter scores by Kanab.
Barnes was particularly effective in the second half, throwing for a score and rushing for another.
“We weren’t scared,” said Marshall. “The kids came out and knew they could beat Kanab. You have to get over it mentally before you can physically and we did that.”
The win not only lifts Milford to the state championship game, it also gives the Tigers the chance to bring home only the second state title in school history.
“It feels amazing,” said Netto. “This is a big step for us.”