MILFORD, N.H. – The Blue Knights of Manchester West still remain winless, falling 35-12 to the Milford Spartans on Friday night.
West prevented a shutout thanks only to a pair of short yardage touchdowns coming at the end of each half: a quarterback keeper by Jaymeson Maheux with five seconds left in the second quarter and a ten-yard dash from sophomore Xavier Burpee with 41 seconds left in the contest.
Those two scores interrupted what was otherwise a dominant night for the Spartans, although Milford’s dominance was not a foregone conclusion early on.
The Blue Knights forced a fumble on Milford’s first drive and moved the ball into Spartan territory before a quick kick punt, one of several on the night from West’s signature quasi-wildcat offense.
Milford answered after receiving the ball back, as Spartan quarterback Gavin Urda punctuated an 11-play drive with a five-yard touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Urda added another rushing touchdown in the second half, with junior Junior Ughu also adding a pair of goal line scores, providing one in each half like Urda. Senior Owen Zalenski provided Milford’s fifth and final rushing touchdown with 9:12 left in the game.
Even moments that appeared to cut into Milford’s momentum proved to be illusory, perhaps most notably on an Urda completion to Ughu late in the second half. Moments after the completion, West’s Tyrese Harris knocked the ball loose, a fumble immediately picked up by Milford’s Jake Tewksbury for additional yardage.
Outside of the early fumble and the two scores, perhaps West’s only memorable positive moment from the contest came from a miraculous red zone catch from Ken Kabembi, preventing an almost certain interception by Milford freshman Ryan Mertz.
Despite the loss, Maheux’s performance also served as a silver lining for West, leading the Blue Knights with 64 yards on 17 carries and connecting on three of his seven passes for 36 yards in the air.
“Jaymeson’s a stud, he’s a true football player, he never comes off the field,” said West head coach Tom Bozoian. “He’s a true leader, he led us in rushing last year and he’s always making plays on the field.”
Milford head coach Keith Jones also praised Mayheux and the rest of West as well.
“Give those kids from West credit, they hung hard and tough all night,” said Jones. “They gave us everything we could handle. That kid Mayheux, Jesus, he’s like a battering ram. Our kids felt it when he hit them tonight.”
Ughu led the Spartans with 143 yards on 22 carries, with Urda close behind with 123 yards on 11 carries. Urda also went 4-for-4 with 80 passing yards on the night.
Milford looks to improve to 2-1 next week as they travel to Pelham while West heads north for a Saturday afternoon contest against Pembroke.