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MHS Football Tries to Find Form at Home

The Milford High football team plays its home opener Friday night against Algonquin Regional and perhaps the biggest question looming is which Scarlet Hawks team will show up? Will it be the team that generated only three first downs in a 15-0 season opening loss to Franklin? Or will it be the balanced and effective offense that lead the Hawks to a 24-6 pasting of Agawam in week two?
Head Coach Tom Cullen's squad comes into the 2010 season off a 5-6 campaign last year, 3-2 in the league. The Hawks are relatively young and inexperienced, which may account for some of the inconsistency early in the year.
Junior quarterback Steve Morganelli made his first varsity start against Franklin. The coaching staff sees him as an intelligent signal caller with a strong arm who just needs more game experience to become a more complete QB. Morganelli threw for 129 yards against Agawam, including a 27 yard touchdown pass to Chaney Gaudette that made it 24-0 and effectively put the game away.
The Hawks used a balanced attack in the win over the Brownies with 13 running plays and 11 pass plays in the first half. The big play on the ground was a 56 yard touchdown run for senior fullback Tyler Asam.
Asam will serve as one of the four team captains this year, along with fellow seniors Zach Skerry, Brian Sanchioni, and Nick Valente. Skerry and Sanchioni help anchor the offensive and defensive lines. Valente, a running back, was one of the few bright spots during the loss to Franklin as he picked up nearly five yards per carry.
Milford is expected to utilize a variety of players on offense, including juniors Chris Casey and Jarrod Casey (no relation) who combined for a big special teams play last weekend. Chris tossed a lateral pass to Jarrod on a punt return and the latter brought it back for a touchdown to give Milford a 17-0 lead in the game.
Despite all of the weapons on offense, the defense is expected to be the unit that keeps the Hawks in most games, especially in league play. With the game against Agawam still tight, Milford's defense bent but didn't break. After the Brownies marched to the Hawks' 33 yard line on an 11 play drive, Milford came up with a 4th down stop to keep the shutout alive.
Milford opens the home slate against an Algonquin team that features a spread offense. Like the Hawks, the Tomahawks use a variety of players on offense and have utilized various shotgun formations over the past few years. Defensively, the Milford coaches expect Algonquin to provide a tough test with a formidable defensive front.
The match-up with Algonquin is the first of five home games on the MHS schedule. The Scarlet Hawks also play Wachusett, Westboro, and Marlboro at home during the month of October and cap off the season with the annual Thanksgiving Day showdown against Shrewsbury.




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