MILFORD – Tom Grippa has won a lot of games as a head coach. Friday evening’s was arguably his biggest.
Grippa, who has been the head man at Elder, La Salle and Fairfield, helped produce history on Friday when his Milford High School (Ohio) football team overcame a 28-point deficit, scoring 32 unanswered points to defeat his former program, Fairfield, and claim a 39-35 win in the first round of the Division I Region 4 playoffs.
The game was the first postseason contest ever held at Milford. It was also the program’s first playoff victory ever.
“This is as big as any win I’ve ever had including the wins over Moeller, wins over (St.) X, beating Colerain in ’99 – that was a great win for the Fairfield Indians – this tops right up there with them,” the second-year Milford coach said. “We were such a big underdog, right? … So our defense played really, really well. I’m so proud of or kids and my coaches too.”
“Coach Grippa just told us to never give up, we believed, we’ve believed him all season,” Milford senior running back Cameron Kells said. “Really we’ve put a whole year into this one game and we left it all out there. We won.”
Kells, who finished with 173 all-purpose yards, three rushing touchdowns, and a broken hand, recorded the game-winning score with 1:28 remaining in the contest. His one-yard run to the left capped the come-from-behind victory and sent the Eagles into the second round of the playoffs for the first time ever.
“It’s amazing, it’s amazing,” Kells said. “My dad played on the 1986 team when they went to the playoffs and actually lost to Fairfield, so it was great for Milford to win against Fairfield this year.”