Thorndale rushes to pass Milano
On this evening—advantage Thorndale.
The Bulldogs sprinted past the previously unbeaten Eagles 26-7 at Pruitt Field in a key District 26A clash.
Thorndale lifts its record to 5-2 on the season and 2-0 in district play, while Milano dips to 5-1 on the year and 1-1 in the league standings.
The win total matches the Bulldogs' mark of 2008 when they were a 5-6 playoff team.
"It was a good w in for us. We felt like we played good and really did some things that we have been working on better," first-year Thorndale Coach Kade Burns said. "We are constantly trying to get better and work on our areas of improvement.
"I was pleased with how physical we were in the game. We had some guys f lying around and making plays so that was good to see."
"Our kids played hard. I thought we moved pretty good at times and at other times we were self destructive."
It looked like Milano might have the upper hand in the battle of Milam County's small schools when the Bulldogs fumbled the opening kickoff at the Thorndale 45 and the Eagles recovered.
Milano went to its sometimes successful air assault rather than its grinding ground game, getting as close as the Thorndale one yard line, but two illegal blocks below the knees would send the Eagles back to the Thorndale 27.
A completed pass from Thomas Sanders to Jaxon Robinson got Milano back to the Thorndale 15 and the first of the Bulldogs four unsportsmanlike conduct personal fouls of the night moved the ball to the seven yard line.
Eagle senior quarterback Matthew Jentsch dove into the corner of the end zone to score. Ryan Karl's point after was good and Milano took a 7-0 lead with 6:45 in the first. It would be the only time the Eagles would put points on the board.
Thorndale's Paxton Jordan hit Josh Ware for a big gain and Steven McKendrick would eat up serious yardage to drive the Bulldogs down to the Milano red zone.
Jordan would score from the Eagles' one with 4:24 left in the opening quarter. The point after by Tyler Jordan was no good and Milano held on to a 7-6 lead.
The Eagles just couldn't get things going and had to punt the ball to the Bulldogs, giving them great field position.
Paxton Jordan and McKendrick would eat up the field again. Jordan would hit Nick O'Brien on a screen pass up the middle for a 15 yard score. The two point pass fell incomplete, but Thorndale was up 12-7 with 10:54 left in the half.
Milano would drive down the field again with its ground game, but Sanders would be picked off by Kasey Corcoran at the Bulldog 25.
Another Thorndale personal foul would move the ball back to the Thorndale 8.
The Bulldogs would continue to pick up speed with McKendrick, Jordan and Shea Maupin pounding yards out against the Milano defense.
On Josh Ware's second catch of the night, he would earn a 42 yard score. Tyler Jordan's PAT put Thorndale up 19-7 with 6:47 in the half.
Milano would have to put again after going three and out. Thorndale would drive into Milano territory again, but two sacks by Sam Walker cause the Bulldogs to have to punt.
Jentsch would get the ball and break out from the 12 to the 37 yard line, before kneeling on the next play to end the half.
The Eagles would get the ball to start off the second half, but again would have to go three and out.
After the ensuing punt, Maupin took the ball down the left sideline for a 46 yard score on the very next play. Tyler Jordan's PAT would end the night's scoring.
"Maupin's score took the wind out of our sails, but our kids never quit," Jentsch said. "If we could have scored on that first possession of the third quarter I think it would've been a different ball game."
Thorndale would find the end zone again in the fourth quarter, this time on a McKendrick 21 yard score, but it was called back on another Bulldog penalty.
On the night, Thorndale had 11 penalties for 92 yards. Milano had four for 45.
The Bulldogs tallied 388 yards of total offense against Milano (261 rushing and 127 passing) and held the Eagles to just 203 yards.
"I wa s plea sed w it h how well we tackled on defense. Our defense gave up a touchdown in the first drive then played real well the rest of the game," Burns said.
"We knew that their backs were real big so we felt like we needed to stress tackling."
Paxton Jordan was perfect in the air, completing all four of his passes for 127 yards. Josh Ware caught two of them for 85 yards to be the Bulldogs' top receiver on the night.
McKendrick had 115 yards on 13 carries to lead Thorndale's ground attack.
Matthew Jentsch had more yards than any player on the field with 117 on 13 carries.
Sanders completed four of nine passes for 50 yards and gave up two interceptions. Alton Bryant was Milano's top receiver with a 29 yard reception.
Thorndale's junior high team was also victorious over Milano last week, w inning 18- 0 on Thursday.
Thorndale will host rival Thrall on Friday night at Bulldog Stadium in their annual grudge match, while Milano will try to rebound on the road in Bartlett.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. in both games.
The rivalry between the Bulldogs and Thrall (deemed "Battle of '79" in recent years) always bring an intense atmosphere to the game.
Thrall has won three in a row in 2009.
This will be the 79th meeting between the two teams. The Bulldogs won last year's meeting 39-7 and lead the series 47-28-3.
Thrall is coming off a 13-0 win over hapless Granger (0-7, 0-2) which leaves them with an identical record to Thorndale in district at 2-0.
"As I keep saying with our district opponents, we better get ready for Thrall as they are a good team," Burns said. "Thrall has won three games in a row and are 2-0 in district play. It is a big rivalry and our kids need to be ready to play at a high level for four quarters.
"We are going to work today and are going to prepare our kids for Friday night because this is a big game for both teams. We feel like we are getting better each week. We have stressed to our kids the importance of playing well when it counts the most and this week is no exception."
Thrall, which has not made a playoff appearance in three years, has a new coach in McCamey's John Ward and is tr y ing to rebound from a 3-7 season in 2008.
Ward is the Tigers' third coach in three years.
Thrall is led by 5-foot-6 running back Hayden Caffey who has gained 600 yards this season.
Quarterback Tucker Lovelace has thrown for 500 yards and his favorite target is Caffey, who has nine catches for 130 yards.
Lovelace had 118 yards of total offense in the Tigers' win over Granger.
Thorndale definitely has the easiest road to a district crown after Thrall, with Granger and Holland (a combined 2-12) to close out the regular season schedule.
Milano will have its hands full again this week as it travels to Bartlett (4-2, 1-1) on Friday.
The Bulldogs crushed Holland on the road last week 62-14 behind a 209 yard performance from quarterback Gabriel Gadison.
In 2008, Bartlett handed Milano a 34-0 loss, the only time the Eagles were shut out all season.
The Eagles will have to figure out ways to stop Gadison, last year's district MVP running back Eric Walker and receiver Roman Perez.
Walker had 151 yards and two touchdowns against Holland, while Perez added four touchdowns.
"They'll spread you out in coverage and are dangerous when running the ball," Jentsch said. "They have big play capabilities."
Milano will have an advantage in that they should be able to move the ball against Bartlett's young offensive line.
"Their line, on either side of the ball, isn't as good as it was last year," Jentsch said. "We will be able to move the ball and score on them."
In overall season statistics, Milano has the highest scoring offense w ith 200 points and Bartlett is second with 176 points scored.
The Bulldogs' defense is tops in 26A, allowing just 86 points in its six games. The Eagles are second there, giving up 100 points to its six opponents.
The Milano Athletic Booster Club's next meeting is on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 pm Milano High School Cafetorium, according to Karen Gray, Secretary. Thorndale Milano 17 First downs 11 38-261 Rushing 32-153 4-4-0 Passing 4-14-2 127 Passing yards 50 388 Total yards 203 4-33 Punts 4-19.3 1-1 Fumbles 1-0 11-92 Penalties 4-45
Score by quarters Thorndale 6 13 7 0—26 Milano 7 0 0 0— 7
First quarter MILANO—Matthew Jentsch 7 run (Ryan Karl kick) 6:45 THORNDALE—Paxton Jordan 1 run (Tyler Jordan kick failed) 4:24
Second quarter THORNDALE—Nick O'Brien 15 pass from P. Jordan (pass failed) 10:54 THORNDALE—Josh Ware 42 pass from P. Jordan (T. Jordan kick) 6:47
Third quarter THORNDALE—Shea Maupin 46 run (T. Jordan kick) 8:51
Leaders RUSHING—THORNDALE: Steven McKendrick 13-115; Maupin 7-82 1TD; P. Jordan 16-64 1TD; Quinton Ware 2-0. MILANO: Jentsch 13-117 1TD; Walker 10-32; Sanders 7-2; Juhl 2-2. PASSING—THORNDALE: P. Jordan 4-4-0 127 yards 2TDs. MILANO: Sanders 4-9-2 50 yards; Jentsch 0-5-0. RECEIVING—THORNDALE: J. Ware 2-85 1TD; McKendrick 1-27; O'Brien 1-15 1TD. MILANO: Alton Bryant 1-29, Jaxon Robinson 1-11, John Paniagua 1-10, Jentsch 1-0.
WL WL PtsOpp Thorndale 2 0 5 2 151 115 Thrall 2 0 4 3 122 137 Milano 1 1 5 1 200 100 Bartlett 1 1 4 2 176 86 Holland 0 2 2 5 123 286 Granger 0 2 0 7 67 206
This week—Milano at Bartlett, Thrall at Thorndale, Holland at Granger.
Last week—Thorndale 26, Milano 7; Bartlett 62, Holland 14; Thrall 13, Granger 0.
THORNDALE SEASON LEADERS
RUSHING—Maupin 69-350 4 TD, McKendrick 70-321 1 TD, Morton 57-328 1 TD, Talley 31-145, 4 TD, Jordan 68-214 5 TD, O'Brien 17-73
TD, Corcoron 6-20, Q. Ware 5-8, Miller 2-0.
PASSING—Jordan 14-25-3, 330 yards 4TD, Maupin 10-20-2, 147 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING—J. Ware 9-207 1 TD, McKendrick 5-69 1 TD, Morton 2- 69 1 TD, Talley 1-28, O'Brien 2-21
TD, Ging 1-27, Miller 1-18, Corcoran 1-16, Saunders 1-11.
MILANO SEASON LEADERS
RUSHING—Jentsch 115-906, 10TD, Th. Sanders 47-468, 4TD, Walker 69-379, 5TD, Juhl 13-39, Mullinnix 2-3.
PASSING—Jentsch 10-36-2, 143 yards, 3TD, Th. Sanders 8-23-4, 75 yards, 1TD.
RECEIVING—Th.Sanders 6-119, 3TD, Bryant 2-33, Ellison 2-17, Robinson 2-14, Karl 1-10, Paniagua
10, Walker 2-8, To. Sanders 1-7, 1TD.
Milano vs. Thorndale
(Thorndale leads the
2009 Thorndale 26-7
2008 Thorndale, 14-12
2007 Milano, 14-10
2006 Thorndale, 9-7
2005 Thorndale, 27-11
2004 Thorndale 43-0
2003 Thorndale, 22-18
2002 Thorndale, 49-12
1953 Thorndale 25-0
1952 Thorndale, 47-0
1951 Thorndale, 13-0
1950 Thorndale, 28-0
1938 Thorndale, 13-7
1936 Thorndale, 55-0
1935 Milano, 19-7
1934 Tie, 0-0
1933 Milano, 6-0
1932 Milano, 17-6