NEWTON — The Milton boys’ rugby squad let a 10-point margin slip away in last year’s Division 2 state championship game against Hanover.The Wildcats learned their lesson. In the rematch, Milton pulled away on a pair of late trys from junior Alex Caputo on the way to a 32-14 victory over Hanover Saturday afternoon at Newton South.“We’ve been doing a lot of work in practice with our fitness and our training,” said Milton coach Joe Dolan.
“Not to take anything away from [Hanover], but I think we were a little more consistent, and a little more physically aggressive with our fitness level.”
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Milton (9-2) fell behind by a point midway through the second half. But with 12:30 remaining, junior scrumhalf Killian Smith picked the ball out of a ruck within the final 5 meters and dove across the try line to restore the Wildcats’ lead.
In the final six minutes, Caputo struck twice – the first on a pick play to the near side of the try zone, the second after catching a past and bursting through the Hanover line – to secure the title for Milton.“After the loss of the seniors last year, we didn’t know where we were going to be,” said senior captain Chris Caputo, who recorded the first points with his try 29 minutes into the game.“We took it game by game, we always had this in our minds, saying we’ve got to get back here. I think that drove us because we lost the year before . . . and when we showed up we were just ready to play.”
The biggest momentum shift came midway through the second half, when junior Ryan Hoey was forced to sit
10 minutes with a yellow card. Hanover converted once on the man advantage. But Milton held strong and grabbed 3 points back on a converted dropkick by senior Gerard Davoren.“When [Hoey] came back on I think we all just put it back together, and we were like, ‘we need to have more fire, and we need to put this game away so they have no chance of coming back,’” Caputo.Bryce Stovell scored the other try for Milton. Hanover received scores from senior Corey Dooley and sophomore Ethan Davis.Dave Souza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.