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The Boston Globe has pegged Milton’s football team as the one to watch. With the season just underway, the Boston Globe’s recent football preview of the Independent School League (ISL) focused on Milton:

“Football is a game predicated on aggression. But it’s also one based on talent, and that’s what [coach] Kevin McDonald and Milton Academy are banking on,” wrote Globe correspondent Jason Dunbar. “Blessed with savvy at each of the skill positions, Milton will rely on a high-powered offense to outscore opponents.”

Rather than relying on a single superstar, the team features notable talent across its roster: With 1,498 yards and 110 points in just seven games last year, tailback Tim Daniels (Class I) has been named a player to watch. Runner Omar Longus (Class I) and fullback John Keefe (Class I), as well as wideouts Peter Colombo (Class I) and Justin McIntosh (Class I) are also part of the formidable Milton Academy force.

Head Coach Kevin McDonald knows how to take talented athletes and form a skillful team. His list of coaching accomplishments includes a 14-year tenure at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, Massachusetts, where his team took eight league championships, enjoyed three undefeated seasons, sent three players to the National Football League and, during a 10-year period, held a record of 90-10-1. At Milton, Coach McDonald led his 1996 team to an undefeated ISL championship, and took the same team to the School’s first New England championship with a thrilling 21-20 win against Thayer. Over more than a decade at Milton, his teams are at more than 70 percent winning.

Coach McDonald is assisted by Tom Flaherty, who has coached more than 30 years—formerly as head football coach at Milton, and still as head coach of the baseball team, which won the league title in 2003. Coach Flaherty, who is also a faculty member and served as dorm head for 21 years, is a member of the High School Football Hall of Fame.

“Milton is fortunate to have exceptional coaches,” says Mike Kinnealey, athletic director. “Their knowledge of the game is respected within the ISL and throughout New England. These coaches devote themselves to the betterment of each athlete in their care. We’re proud to have them here.”

According to Coach McDonald, his players deserve much of the credit for this year’s powerhouse team. “What we have is really good skill guys—they run, catch and throw,” Coach McDonald says. “I’ve had bigger players, but these are the most skilled kids I’ve ever had.
“We try to gear our team toward seniors, giving them the first chance to start. We’re also big on teaching the fundamentals of the game. And we stress being gentlemen—winning and losing with dignity.

“I know a lot of coaches who feel lucky to get just one great kid a season on their team—one who is a good athlete, great student and is well-mannered. Here, I have at least seven exceptional players who are also really great students and people.”

St. Sebastian’s, who was clobbered by Milton Academy September 20 (32-13); Belmont Hill, Milton’s opponent at home on October 4; and Governor Dummer were among other ISL teams with promise, according to the Globe article.