Lakeland senior Evan Percin dives into the end zone in the Eagles’ 44-7 win over Milford on Friday October 22nd in Lakeland. (Special to The Spinal Column Newsweekly / CHRIS WALL)

In the annual rivalry battle in the Huron Valley on Friday October 22nd, Lakeland scored a 44-7 win over Milford.

The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, exploding for 23 points in the second half to take a confident 30-7 lead at half time.

“We controlled the scrimmage line well,” said Lakeland head coach Jim Calhoun just before the post-game fireworks. “We concentrated on a rivalry game, executed the game plan, eliminated the noise.”

“We concentrated all week after a bad track. I asked the kids to invest their time in the best two hours of football on Friday. They did well. “

The Eagles’ offense, led by Senior Dillion Gacki, took a total of 359 yards to victory and produced two 100-yard rushers that night. Senior Evan Percin carried the load, carrying the ball literally 31 times for 131 yards, including a 26-yard scampers, as it dived into the end zone to give the Eagles a 37-7 lead with 37.3 seconds in the third quarter give.

Senior quarterback Tate Farquhar had a big night with two touchdowns, including a 75-yard scamper that ended up 126 yards on 12 carries.

Lakeland’s racer Deboard speeds 30 yards into the end zone in the Eagles’ 44-7 win over the Mavericks on Friday October 22nd in Lakeland. (Special to The Spinal Column Newsweekly / CHRIS WALL)

In the second possession of the Mavericks, the Eagles defense achieved a large turnover that forced a Milford fumble. Lakeland’s Reed Jabiro came on the Mavericks’ 24-yard line with fumble recovery. Farquhar fell in the first quarter to 7-0 lead in the end zone. After forcing a Milford punt, Senior Racer DeBoard sped 30 yards to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead, with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Jabiro picked up a Milford pass on the following possession and returned the interception to the Mavericks seven-yard line. Jabiro stormed in from a few yards away. The extra point attempt wasn’t good after hitting the post and Lakeland led 20-0.

The Mavericks drove to the Eagles ’11-yard line but were stopped in fourth place by the Eagles’ defense. Farquhar electrified the crowd with a 75-yard run to give Lakeland a commanding 27-0 lead.

Milford drove to the Eagles’ 33-yard line but failed to convert on a fourth and seven and gave the ball back to Lakeland. The Mavericks Defense got the ball straight back after an eagle fumble at Lakeland’s 26-yard line. Milford took advantage of second quarterback Ryan Allen, who threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Senior Brandon Gibson to cut the deficit to 27-7 with 4:06 in half. That was as close as the Mavericks would get the rest of the way. Junior Braxton Godin drilled a 24-yard field goal to top the 23-point rebellion with 40.2 seconds to put Lakeland 30-7 ahead at halftime.

Milford sophomore quarterback Ryan Allen completes the swing pass when the Mavericks fall to Lakeland at 44-7. (Special to The Spinal Column Newsweekly / CHRIS WALL)

The Eagles’ defense threw a shutout in the second half, while Lakeland’s Evan Percin stormed in from 26 yards in the third quarter, 37.7 seconds behind, and McCoy Biagioli scored from 21 yards for the 44-7 final at the end of the fourth quarter.

Milford finished the regular season with a 7-2 overall record and 6-2 in the Lakes Valley Conference. Head coach Garfrey Smith was disappointed with the result but proud of the determination of his team.

“It was a great effort. We knew Lakeland was going to come out and play hard. They want to prepare for the playoffs. Great team, well trained. They gave everything and we didn’t answer today. That’s all.”

“We told them after the game that this wasn’t the result we wanted, but we could get another opportunity to go to the first round of the playoffs with them. Then we just have to do it and take care of business, regroup and bring ourselves together. “

Milford sophomore Wyatt Lesnew had 22 tackles and fumble recovery for the Mavericks defense, while Junior Jake Pasuit entered with 13 tackles. Senior cornerback Cody Miller had an interception. Gibson had five receptions for 72 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass from Allen.

Lakeland closes the regular season 6-3. The Eagles will host Walled Lake Western (6-3) on Friday evening. Milford receives East Lansing on Friday night. The Trojans come into play with a 6: 3 record.