MILTON - It's the kind of drive that offenses love and defenses hate. And with Milton nursing a 20-7 second quarter lead over stubborn Shamokin, it was a march that seemed destined to get the winless Indians back into the Heartland Athletic Conference-I contest.
After Josh Brown had handed Milton a two-touchdown advantage with a with a three yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter, Shamokin moved from its own 29 to the Milton 10 in 13 efficient plays.
But, after Sean McGlaughlin's first down pass to Draven Miller gained seven yards to the Milton 10 and John Demsko churned for a pair of yards to the eight, the Black Panthers defense finally dug in with key stops on third and fourth downs of less than a foot.
The Indians never recovered as Milton unleashed 22 points in the last 3:16 of the first half before coasting to an easy 49-13 homecoming victory Saturday night.
Brown, who opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and gouged the Indians defense for 191 yards in 13 carries, ripped off a 47 yard run after the defensive stand and six plays later Jayson English took an option toss from quarterback Brandy Chappell in for a five-yard score.
Two plays after the kickoff, Brown picked off a McGlaughlin pass and Chappell immediately hit Clayton Messinger with a 33-yard scoring pass and when the Indians fumbled the kickoff and Milton recovered at the Shamokin 39, Chappell hit Greg Schultz with a touchdown pass with two seconds left in the half.
"The defense set the tone for us in the stretch at the end of the half," said Chappell, who had thrown eight touchdowns in the three games. "They handed us the ball and we took advantage of it."
Milton coach George Goodwin was pleased with the big plays his defense made in key situations as well.
Those defensive stops took the wind out of their sails and we were able to convert everything into a lot of points," said Goodwin, whose team improved to 4-2 and 1-2 in the HAC-I.
Goodwin had preached all week to his team not to look past the Indians who have played tough in most of their six losses.
"We told them that you cannot let this team hang around and you need to jump on the them early," Goodwin said. "You never expect to take the first offensive play to the house but that's what Josh did.
Brown broke through the first level of the Shamokin defense and shrugged off a linebacker before outracing everyone for his 75 yard score and, on Milton's next possession after a short Shamokin punt, Chappell started his three-touchdown evening with a 34 yard scoring pass to Corey Kriner for a 12-0 lead.
Shamokin answered with a 65 yard march the ended with a four yard touchdown run by McGlaughlin to slice the lead to 12-7. But Kriner returned the following kickoff 37 yards to midfield and the Black Panthers scored seven plays later on a three yard run by Brown.