Milford defense puts up a wall in blanking Franklin

MILFORD —Over the last few games, Milford has lost some key players to injury.

But the Scarlet Hawks still have a healthy Nick Araujo, and that can be plenty.

Behind another monster effort from Araujo and a smothering defense, Milford rolled to a 24-0 win over Franklin on Friday night.

Milford (7-1) projects as a high seed in the D3 playoffs. Franklin falls to 5-3.

“It’s obvious, we’re down some kids right now,” Milford coach Dale Olson said. “Lost a couple kids for the year, starters. Hopefully, we’ll get one back if we make a little run. Nick’s a heck of a player. We gave him 16 touches in the first half, only gave him one that was on purpose in the second half. Defense was lights out tonight. Not too often that an (coach) Eian Bain Franklin team gets shut out, so I’m really proud of our kids tonight.”

Araujo had 165 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. He was also 3-for-3 on extra points, and drilled a 39-yard field goal. He missed a later one from 46, but it was an otherwise flawless performance from the senior who can do a little bit of everything.

“A lot of dudes stepped up,” Araujo said. “We have a sophomore starting at outside ‘backer (Joey McGee), and he had a huge pick to turn things around in the third (quarter).”

Anthony Maietta had two interceptions for Milford, which scored on its first possession and never looked back. Quarterback Jack Buckley threw for 76 yards and rushed for another 52.

It took only five plays for Milford to drive 60 yards and score on the game’s first possession. Araujo blasted right up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown, and Milford held a 7-0 lead just 1:28 into the contest.

Early in the second quarter, Buckley kept it for a 1-yard touchdown, and the Scarlet Hawks held a 14-0 lead with 8:20 left in the half. At the end of a 13-play drive, Araujo hit his 39-yard field goal, and Milford went into the break with a 17-0 lead. After McGee’s pick and 35-yard return, Araujo scored from a yard out to help complete the scoring.

Franklin’s Andrew Fraulo rushed for 55 yards for the visitors.

“There’s going to be no letdown between Milford and Franklin, I can promise you that,” Olson said on the possibility of a letdown following the KP loss. “This dates back a long time. Like I said, I’m just proud of our kids. It’s a good way to get ready for the playoffs. We’ll wait until Sunday, Monday, whenever they tell us who we’re playing. We’ll be ready for the Division 3 playoffs, that’s for sure.”

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