Ashton Canelo, working off the block of Austin Mitch, has added another layer of depth to the Milton rushing attack and has been effective at catching the ball out of the backfield.

SHAMOKIN — It’s another tall order this week for Milton football as the Black Panthers travel to take on Shamokin in Heartland Athletic Conference-I action.

Coming off a stinging loss to Jersey Shore, the state’s top ranked 4A team, Milton is faced with a physical Shamokin (4-3, 1-3 HAC-I) team lead by running back Max Madden.

The Indians are coming off a 21-7 win at Shikellamy and are two weeks removed from a 38-0 loss at home to Jersey Shore. Speaking of common opponents, Shamokin won at Mifflinburg, 34-27, and fell, 35-34, at Central Mountain.

Friday’s contest will test the resolve of a Milton team in the midst of its best season in over a decade. Now 5-2, 0-1 HAC-I, Milton will have to find a way to contain Madden, who has 822 rushing yards this season, along with 12 touchdowns. Quarterback Brett Nye and wideout Colin Seedor have been solid all year as well.

Facing the state runner-up from a season ago in Shore, Milton struggled to get its potent running game going, and had no answer for the Bulldogs’ quick-strike offense. Few in the region have. Shore’s running game found traction early and the passing game posed problems as well.

Milton quarterback Xzavier Minium threw his first pick of the season against Shore, but had a couple of decent runs. His ability to keep the defense honest will be critical as Milton faces several tough opponents as the season winds down and the playoffs approach.

Shamokin has weathered a much tougher schedule thus far and playing at home will give Henry Hynoski’s Indians an additional boost.

Milton has lost its last six against Shamokin. It last defeated the Indians in 2013, when Milton won 49-13 at Alumni Field.

Next week: Milton hosts Lewisburg at Williamsport. Shamokin is at Danville.

Chris Brady is managing editor at The Standard-Journal and can be reached at

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