The Wildcats on Friday gave Steve Dembowski his 150th career victory in a 33-14 pounding of Walpole.

MILTON -- Poise and execution were the keys to Milton High football team's methodical demolition of Walpole, 33-14, on Friday afternoon -- although it might not have looked like that would be the case when the Wildcats fumbled on the first play of the game, and the Rebels recovered at Milton’s 23-yard line.

But the heart of Milton’s squad is its defense, which forced their guests to give the ball right back after four plays. Milton owned the rest of the period, and kept Walpole on its heels from there to improve to 3-0.

Two outright disasters in the punting game sabotaged the Rebels (1-3) in the first half. One bobbled snap led to a fumble, which Milton senior Nosa Iyamu scooped up and took 14 yards to the end zone. A second bad snap resulted in a short field and another Milton touchdown. When Walpole did get a good punt off early in the third quarter, Luke Botsford returned it for a 63-yard TD.

The Wildcats’ ability to shrug off the occasional mistake and re-focus is one of the more admirable qualities of any team coached by Steve Dembowski, who recorded his 150th career victory.

“I think I have 142 with my wife -- I had a losing record before I got married,” Dembowski smiled. “But I have had a lot of great kids, and a lot of super assistant coaches that allowed me to do this. I try to do the best I can, to put players in position to be able to play their best, and have fun, too. That's getting harder and harder to do, but we still enjoy it.”

Milton led 14-0 after the first quarter and at 21-0 at halftime. With a 33-7 margin after three quarters, starting sophomore quarterback Chase Vaughan sat out the fourth after compiling some impressive statistics.

Vaughan, who threw to seven receivers, connected on 13 of 21 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, with no sacks and no interceptions.

“Things did not start off well with that fumble on our first play,” said Dembowski, “but defense is the strength of this team and they really came up big right there.

“That punt block and return were big plays, obviously -- Botsford's punt return really broke the game open for us. When we can get explosive plays like that on special teams, it makes everything a lot easier. But we made a lot of mistakes tonight, too, and we have to keep improving. We made enough plays to win, but we took too many penalties, and have a long way to go to get to where we want to be.”

A Graham O'Donnell interception at Walpole’s 47 led to the Wildcats' first touchdown. Vaughan capped a six-play drive by hitting junior Andrew Lynch with a 25-yard touchdown pass, and Max Winkler's kick made it 7-0 with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Milton’s defense then forced Walpole’s first aborted punt, leading to Iyamu’s recovery and TD, and a 14-0 lead with 1:39 left.

The Rebels’ second botched punt gave the Wildcats the ball at Walpole’s 28. Five plays later, Milton senior captain John Barros’ touchdown run and Winkler’s third PAT made it 21-0.

The punt return TD by Botsford, a senior captain, stretched Milton’s lead to 27-0 less than two minutes into the second half.

Milton answered a third-quarter Walpole touchdown drive with one its own, a six-yard march started by Vaughan’s 30-yard run on a draw play. Vaughan then threw a 19-yard pass to senior Andrew Possi that made it 33-7 with less than a minute to play in the third quarter.

“It's still just September,” said Dembowski, whose team takes a 2-0 record against Bay State Conference foes into next Friday’s league match-up at Weymouth. “We have got to play better, and we have a long way to go. We have work to do, and things to fix, despite that record.”