That suits Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro just fine as the Eagles’ power running attack will fit right in with a number of the ground-and-pound programs in their new region.
“We’ve played a lot of these schools recently except for Wheeler and Etowah,” said the second year Milton coach of his new region that also includes Roswell, Walton, Lassiter, Cherokee and Woodstock. “So we’re familiar with most of them.
“But really its like I told kids, let’s just line up and play whoever they tell us to play and focus on playing how we want to play.”
How the Eagles want to play in 2012 is similar to what they showed in a 2011 season that ended in their first state playoff appearance since 2008.
Milton will try to exploit their size and power through a physical running game that is ripe with Division I talent, while hoping to avoid the nagging injuries that plagued star tailback Peyton Barber last season.
Barber, a senior that committed to the University of Mississippi over offers from Arizona State, Clemson and others at the end of the summer, rushed for nearly 900 yards during his sophomore season, but an ankle injury sidelined him for much of 2011.
Barber will team up with rising junior Treyvon Paulk — who ran for 1,100 yards in Barber’s absence last year and already has a host of scholarships offers of his own — to give Milton one of the more formidable backfield duos in the state.
The tailback tandem will look to pad their rushing totals this season with the help of a loaded offensive line that features three seniors already committed to Division I schools — Cory Helms, Eason Fromayan and Josh Harris.
Harris and Helms, a tackle and center respectively, both plan to play for Wake Forest next season while Fromayan has made his pledge to play for the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University.
“[Our running game] has a chance to be really good, but with football in this state it is hard to really tell. Until we get on the field and play somebody you never really know what you’ve got,” said DeCristofaro.
Milton opens their season against cross-town rival Alpharetta Aug. 31.
9-7 Johns Creek