By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Write it in stone: The Milford Bulldogs will be in the state semifinal. Yeah, we went there.
Longtime head coach Ronny Crumpton will have to once again work his Milford magic this season following the loss of key playmakers, but that’s a task he and the Bulldogs are more than capable of handling.
For those unaware, the Bulldogs fell to this season’s second-ranked McLean in the 1A Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium behind a heroic effort from since-graduated TaRon Smith in 2018. Smith put together one of the more brilliant offensive showcases in the first half of the title game, only to run out of steam in the second half of the 100-70 loss.
Smith was eventually named the All-Ellis County Male Athlete of the Year by the Waxahachie Daily Light. Those decision-makers are now on staff at KBEC Sports.
Milford returns four starters on offense and five on defense, while McLean brings back just five total starters — one of those, however, is standout quarterback Ben Crockett.
Crockett amassed 2,759 rushing yards and 59 touchdowns this past season. He accounted for a state-championship record nine rushing touchdowns (12 total) against the Bulldogs.
Milford will still have the services of standout senior Ricky Pendelton, who carried the football 71 times for 1,044 yards and 21 touchdowns this past season. He is also the leading tackler to return for the Bulldogs following his 130 total tackles in 2018.
JaSean Brooks returns for the Bulldogs as well after he posted 16 total touchdowns, 390 receiving yards and 88 tackles during his junior season
DCTF has labeled Milford — which the magazine declared a “blue blood” of 1A football — as the favorite in Region III of 1A Division I. The DCTF experts also noted Blum, Newcastle, Coolidge and Abbott could threaten the Bulldogs reign, which has seen Milford advance to the state semifinal in 2017 and state title game in 2018.
In fact, the Bulldogs have advanced to the postseason in each of the past 11 years. They’ve also won double-digit games in six of the past seven seasons. That run includes 12 or more wins an astounding four times.
Milford also lost just two of its 20 lettermen from 2018, which includes nine total starters returning (four on offense, five on defense).
They are an absolute lock for the 1A Division I postseason. And they’ll surely be in the conversation to win the program’s third state title come playoff time.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football predicts District 11-1A Division I to finish:
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith