Escambia High Gators: Milton Panthers: 22 - Escambia High Gators: 24

  Milton Panthers: 22 - Escambia High Gators: 24 Back to Schedules and Varsity Game Summary
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  Escambia High Gators 24      
Game Played 9/24/2010 7:30PM  

Escambia stuns Milton
Gators ease by Panthers in a 24-22 squeaker
Jamie Secola • • September 25, 2010
Just two weeks before the season began, Scott Anderson arrived in Pensacola, ready to take on the head football coaching job at Escambia.

"It goes back to what these guys did in that first Friday night preseason game," Anderson said after the game was decided by a missed Milton field goal in the final seconds. "These guys showed me right away that they are resilient and have a great competitive spirit ... We're starting to get our focus, and we're making plays to prove that we are big enough and good enough to win."

The game was Escambia's first true test of the season. The Gators' (4-0, 1-0) opponents so far have a combined record of 1-9. The same was true for Milton (2-1, 0-1), whose two opponents before Escambia have gone a combined 1-3.

But after five turnovers in the game, the Panthers had a chance with a little more than five seconds left on the clock. On fourth down from the Gators' 16, kicker Kyle Fields lined up for a 34-yard field goal.

It sailed wide left.

"We had a chance to win, but you can't turn the ball over five times and be anything more than a little league team," first-year Milton coach Bobby Johns said. "We better get ourselves ready to go (next Friday against Fort Walton Beach)."

The Panthers came out strong, however, and scored the first touchdown on a Devon Tillis 2-yard run that was set up after Milton blocked an Escambia punt.

But the Gators took over after that score midway through the first quarter, exploding for 17 points in the second quarter.

Joey Cannon started the burst for Escambia, scoring on a 2-yard run at the 11:54 mark. Willie Williams followed with a 1-yard run with 7:11 on the clock. Jonathan Cagle's 39-yard field goal pushed the Gators to a 17-7 lead five minutes later.

But Milton chipped within 17-15 with 41 seconds left in the first half when Matt Floyd — who completed four passes for 82 yards on the drive — found Paul Young on a 20-yard TD pass.

Marcel Kidd's 9-yard TD run in the third quarter pushed Escambia in front 24-15. But the game again tightened after Tillis scored his second touchdown for Milton, this one on a 14-yard run with 11:50 to play in the game.

That 24-22 advantage for the Gators held until the final horn — and survived the last-second field goal attempt by the Panthers.

When Fields' kick sailed left, the small crowd in the visiting stands at Haywood Hannah Stadium exploded, and many rushed onto the field.

"I'm speechless," Escambia running back Michael Travis said after the game. "Every game we play, they say we're the underdogs. But we're going to keep playing hard, and we're going to make the playoffs."

First Quarter
M--Devon Tillis 2 run (Kyle Fields kick) 7:57

Second Quarter
E--Joey Cannon 2 run (Jonathan Cagle kick) 11:54
E--Willie Williams 1 run (Cagle kick) 7:11
E--Cagle 39 field goal 2:11
M--Paul Young 20 pass from Matt Floyd (Young run) 0:41.4

Third Quarter
E--Marcel Kidd 9 run (Cagle kick) 4:21

Fourth Quarter
M--Tillis 14 run (Fields kick) 11:50
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Score