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Eric Milliard was a key component for the North Haven football team’s offensive line in his senior season, and he also made a major impact on the Indians’ defensive line. (Photo courtesy of Eric Milliard )
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Eric Milliard has proved an invaluable member of the North Haven football team while manning the offensive and defensive lines throughout the past two seasons. Since Eric has been playing football for virtually his entire life, he’s continued to grow and mature into an excellent lineman. In the 2017 fall season, Eric capped his career with the Indians by helping them qualify for the playoffs, and he earned several accolades for his performance.
“My whole life, I’ve basically been a lineman. On the depth chart, it’s always changed as far as what position I played to the point where I’ve been around the entire line throughout my entire career,” says Eric. “Because of that, the coaches know they could play me wherever and they know I’d take the time to learn and see what I have to do at that position.”
On the offensive line, Eric primarily played guard for the Indians and was used to pull across the line and set up blocks for North Haven’s rushing attack. Eric helped pave the way to a ton of yards as the Indians ran for 3,298 as a team on the season. Although linemen often don’t get as much glory as the guys who score the touchdowns, that doesn’t matter to Eric, who says the Indians’ backs are quick to give them credit.
“As a lineman, I had a lot of speed, which was good because I was eventually on as one of our three guards, so I’d pull across the whole line and block for our running backs. Speed helped me in that aspect, and physical strength. I was able to make sure nobody was able to stand me up,” Eric says. “We are needed because, if we don’t block, the running back isn’t going anywhere. We don’t need the glory. We let the running backs have all the glory because, with our guys, they credit us on the practice and game fields, where we’re needed most.”
Eric also played tackle on the Indians’ defensive line in his senior season, recording 25 tackles to go with a sack and a blocked kick. For his efforts on the year, Eric made the All-SCC Tier 1 Team and the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Class L Team as an offensive lineman, in addition to earning a spot on the Levi Jackson All-Star Team as a defensive lineman. He also made Honorable Mention for the New Haven Register’s All-State Team.
“It was huge because for Levi Jackson, I made it as a defensive tackle. That was a big thing because there are a lot of guys who would love to get this award, so it’s a great honor to get that award for myself,” says Eric. “I made All-SCC and All-State as an offensive lineman, and it’s huge because I don’t have many awards, so I greatly appreciate receiving the awards for it. Not too many people get these kinds of things, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.”
North Haven Head Coach Anthony Sagnella says that Eric’s background was a key to him playing at a high level for the Indians, in addition to the quickness that he brought to the lines.
“He comes from a good pedigree. His older brother Michael was a successful player here and, whenever you have brothers, that helps. The younger brother grows up watching and understanding the program before they arrive. When Eric came in as a freshman, he had the right attitude, and you could see he was determined to be a successful player,” says Sagnella. “You need people that can cover a lot of ground quickly and be physical enough to play on the line of scrimmage. We put him in a position where we could use his speed by having him pull and lead a lot of our running plays.”
Eric also throws the shot put for North Haven’s indoor and outdoor track squads. He’s serving as a captain for each team as a senior this year.
“It’s a big role to take on because, as a captain, you’re the one that’s trusted the most by the coach. You’re the one that has to resolve problems,” Eric says. “Even though it’s only the beginning of the season, I learned a lot trying to take care of our guys and how to push or motivate them to make the team function as one.”
With his football career having come to a close, Eric feels thankful for all the teammates that he had the honor of playing alongside in North Haven.
“I couldn’t have done anything on the field without everyone else out there with me,” says Eric. “Most of the guys were the ones I grew up with playing and I couldn’t ask for a better group.”
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