Eagles drop double overtime heartbreaker, miss playoffs

Thrall touchdown pass ends Milano season
BY MARIE BAKKEN Reporter Staff Writer

quarterback Matthew Jentsch (5) hangs his head after Milano's near-miss against Thrall.       quarterback Matthew Jentsch (5) hangs his head after Milano's near-miss against Thrall. MILANO—It was drama from start to finish in a game with the utmost importance.

In the last regular season game, where the winner goes to the postseason and the loser stays home, Milano came out on the short end.

The Thrall Tigers clipped the Eagles hopes of the playoffs winning a double-overtime thriller 21-14 at Pruitt Field Friday night.

Thrall (5-5, 3-2) will go as the District 26A runner up in the Class A Division II playoff bracket. It is the Tigers first postseason berth in three years.

What was senior night in Milano saw the two teams in a ground battle through regulation play and until the last play of the second overtime.

As with every coach who isn't postseason bound Milano's head coach Craig Jentsch said he'd love to be practicing this week, but things happen.

"We could have won as easily as we lost. Our kids played extremely hard and they never quit. Losing a game of that nature builds a lot of character," Jentsch said. "We played the whole season with class and our kids have nothing to be ashamed of."

Momentum shifted Thrall's way when the Tigers' Aaron Kirby intercepted a tipped pass from Eagle senior quarterback Matthew Jentsch to Jaxson Robinson.

Thrall's ground game ate up yards and Tiger running back Hayden Caffey would put his team on the board with a three yard run with 7:10 left in the first. The PAT kick by Javier Hernandez put Thrall up 7-0.

Milano (6-3, 2-3) would fumble the ball on a bad handoff in Thrall territory on its next possession.

The Tigers would recover and use up the clock before Thrall signal caller Tucker Lovelace would punch it in from the two. Hernandez kick put the visitors up 14-0 at the half.

The Eagles came back with a look of determination, not letting the importance of the game get too far away from them.

Milano would move the ball down the field and got a big gain when junior Thomas Sanders hit Robinson for a 39 yard reception at the Eagles 1. Jentsch would punch it in two plays later for the score. Thrall's special teams blocked the PAT kick and Milano was down 14-6 with 6:47 left in the third.

The passing game of Milano had not been its strong point all season, but was much improved against Thrall.

With big receptions from Sanders and sophomore Alton Bryant, the Eagles were able to march
26A STANDINGS
District Season
WL WL PtsOpp
x-Thorndale 5 0 7 3 265 159
y-Bartlett 4 1 7 2 292 145
z-Thrall 3 2 5 5 185 233
Milano 2 3 6 3 261 162
Granger 1 4 1 9 150 297
Holland 0 5 2 8 175 423
(x-District Champions, Div. I representative; y-Division II top spot; z-Division II second spot)

This week—Thorndale vs. Goldth - waite, Bartlett vs. Bosqueville, Thrall vs Chilton.

Last week—Thrall 21, Milano 14; Holland 14, Thorndale 54; Granger 27, Bartlett 46.

down the field again on its next possession for what would be the game-tying drive.

Senior Sam Walker took the option pitch from eight yards out to make it a 14-12 ball game with just 9:49 left in the contest. On the PAT attempt, Jentsch would hit Bryant with a pass at the back of the end zone to knot the teams at 14.O

vertime

As is with overtime in high school ball, the teams traded possession starting at the 25 yard line.

Milano got the ball first and used its ground attack to get inside the one with four and goal. A sweep play to the right side met up with a determined Thrall defense and resulted in a Milano fumble. Now it was the Tigers' turn.

Thrall could get just nine yards in its first three downs and opted to try a field goal from the 16. Hernandez's kick went just wide left and sent the game into a second overtime.

The Tigers got the ball first and could only manage to get to the 20. Facing fourth and five they opted to a field goal again. This time Hernandez's kick was good, but was invalid after an illegal procedure call on Thrall.

With its playoff hopes on the line, the Tigers were facing a fourth and 10 from the 25.

The team went to the air and Lovelace connected with Bill Dodson who caught the ball at the one and fell into the end zone. Hernandez's PAT kick was true and Thrall was up 21-14.

Milano would have its' turn to try and tie or win the game, but it just wouldn't be. Jentsch and Walker would work to get the ball to the 8 at third and goal.

Jentsch would hit Sanders who fell out of bounds at the two after the reception. Facing fourth and goal, another Eagle pass would fall incomplete in the corner of the end zone, ending Milano's season.

THRALL 21,
MILANO 14
Thrall Milano
16 First downs 15
44-185 Rushing 45-107
3-7-0 Passing 10-16-1
45 Passing yards 140
230 Total yards 247
4-43 Punts 3-28
1-0 Fumbles 1-1
4-40 Penalties 7-50
Score by quarters
Thrall 0 14 0 0 0 7—21
Milano 0 0 6 8 0 0—14

Scoring summary

Second quarter THRALL—Hayden Caffey 3 run (Javier Hernandez kick) 7:10 THRALL—Tucker Lovelace 2 run (Hernandez kick) 2:43

Third quarter MILANO—Matthew Jentsch 1 run (kick failed) 6:47

Fourth quarter MILANO—Sam Walker 8 run (Ryan Karl kick) 9:49

Second Overtime Thrall—Bill Dodson 25 pass from Lovelace (Hernandez kick)

Leaders RUSHING—MILANO: Jentsch 25-89 1TD; Walker 10-33 1TD. THRALL: Lovelace 14-72 1TD; Caffey 16-48 1TD; Michael Wells 8-32; Brandon Stautz 5-20; Jared Cummings 1-13. PASSING—MILANO: Jentsch 9-14-1 101 yards; Thomas Sanders 1-2-0 39 yards. THRALL: Lovelace 3-7-0 45 yards 1TD. RECEIVING—MILANO: Sanders 4-72; Robinson 1-39; Bryant 5-29. THRALL: Dodson 1-25 1TD; Josh Miller 1-15; Wells 1-5.

MILANO SEASON LEADERS

RUSHING—Jentsch 179-1,333, 14 TD, Walker 100-574, 8 TD, Th. Sanders 48-475, 4 TD, Juhl 24-76, 1TD, Mullinnix 2-3, Robinson 1-5, Melton 1-3, Bryant 1-1.

PASSING—Jentsch 25-66-5, 341 yards, 4 TD, Th. Sanders 10-26-4, 120 yards, 1TD.

RECEIVING—Th.Sanders 11-201, 3TD, Bryant 9-104, Robinson 3-53, Juhl 3-46, 1TD, Ellison 3-22, Karl 1-10, Paniagua 1-10, Walker 2-8, To. Sanders 1-7, 1TD.

TACKLES—Jentsch 114, Evans 63, Walker 49.


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