Football is a tradition at Thanksgiving and that tradition will be alive and well at Milton High School.
For the first time since 2007 the Panthers have won a FHSAA playoff game.
Despite what seemed to be an insurmountable lead at 31-16 with just over five minutes remaining, Milton had to hold off Niceville’s dramatic comeback attempt.
A blocked Brandon Miller punt with 1:06 remaining on the clock was the score the Eagles needed to tie the game after converting a two point conversion.
But overtime was something different.
Milton won the toss and took the ball.
One play later it was Roy Wise battling to score the only touchdown of overtime to secure the Panthers first win as they improved to 8-3 on the year.
“I was not going to be denied,” Wise said. “I was going to score and that was all there was too it.”
For the Panthers the history of three seasons ago are anything but erased from the one year tenure of Bobby Johns.
“This win is not about me, it is about the kids, the coaches, the administration and the community,” Milton Head Coach and former Panther Chafan Marsh said. “I am so proud and excited.
“In week five we were 2-2 and the ball wasn’t bouncing our way, tonight we got a bounce.”
Flakes counted for two of Milton’s touchdowns, while Wise had two, but the scoring got started when Dejon Funderburk intercepted a pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.
With the win Milton will host Navarre at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Raiders made quick work in the second half of Pace 30-10 and defeated the Patriots (7-4) for the second time in as many games this season.
Pace kept it a close game in the first half, but they didn’t have an answer for Raider tailback Jay Warren who rushed for 243 yards.
Offensively the Patriots once again were bitten by turnovers, with the last one coming on a drive when Brice Moore was intercepted by Cody Kelley at the Raiders five yard line to end a drive.
Milton, who has defeated Pace, Pine Forest, and Niceville over the last four weeks is now preparing for Navarre (10-1).
We will celebrate tonight, but tomorrow it is back to work,” Marsh said.
If you go to the games Friday, the FHSAA has set ticket prices at $8, according to Murray Rutledge, Milton High School's Athletic Director.
The only passes to be accepted are State Series Passes.
No Panther Passes, FHSAA coach's cards, or reserved seating holders will be allowed in for free.
"If you purchased a reserved seat during the regular season you must still buy a ticket, but we will allow you to sit in the reserved section," Rutledge said.
Presale tickets will start on Wednesday from 9 a.m. – noon and on Friday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gates to the stadium at Milton will open at 6 p.m.
Friday’s playoff scores
Milton 38, Niceville 31 (OT)
Navarre 30, Pace 10
Northview 57, Cottondale 6
Catholic 22, Trinity Christian 21
Tallahassee Godby 28, West Florida 21
Wakulla 42, Gulf Breeze 19
Playoff Second Round
Navarre at Milton - 7:30 p.m.
Freeport at Northview - 7:30 p.m.