Eagles fly over High Island

Milano records just second playoff win in school history
Reporter Staff Writer

Alton Bryant hauls in one of three passes he caught for 90 yards and a touchdown in Milano’s bi-district victory. Reporter/ Marie Bakken Alton Bryant hauls in one of three passes he caught for 90 yards and a touchdown in Milano’s bi-district victory. Reporter/ Marie Bakken ROSE N BU RG —It ’s been a decade since High Island ruined Milano’s memorable season w ith a improbable come-from behind victor y, so the Eagles’ victory Friday night is a little late to labeled revenge.

They’ll settle for redemption. instead.

After a three-year absence from the postseason, the Eagles routed High Island 60-22 in Class A, Division II, bi-district action at Lamar Consolidated’s Guy K. Traylor Memorial Stadium for Milano’s second playoff win in school history.

“As a whole we played well, but we had some mental breakdowns,” said Milano Coach Craig Jentsch. “We game up some big plays that were unnecessary on defense and on offense we missed a few assignments.

“We are going to work hard this week and get a finished product ready for Friday night.”

Mayson Gibbons (5) and Chris Juhl (2) clear the way for Milano quarterback Thomas Sanders (8) who ran for 212 yards and 4 TDS. Reporter/Marie Bakken Mayson Gibbons (5) and Chris Juhl (2) clear the way for Milano quarterback Thomas Sanders (8) who ran for 212 yards and 4 TDS. Reporter/Marie Bakken The victory sets up what is Milano’s toughest opponent yet, the No. 4 ranked and 9-1 Falls City Beavers.

The two teams will meet in the area round matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Austin’s Burger Stadium.

The 8-3 Eagles were District 13A runners up, where Falls City went undefeated in 16A. This will be the first time these two teams have ever met on the football field.

With the Eagles still remembering the last minute loss to High Island in the 2000 playoffs, Milano made sure this contest was never really close, scoring on long runs, short runs and in the air.

Milano senior quar terback Thomas Sanders would open up the scoring on his first of four rushing touchdowns midway through the opening quarter from 10 yards out. The point after would go wide right.

High Island—which ended its season 4-6—would answer just over a minute later when quarterback Justin Molen would hit Miles Loop on a 48-yard scoring pass.

Molen would add a two-point conversion run to put the Cardinals up 8-6. It would be the last time High Island would hold a lead in the ball game.

Jordan Melton ran the ensuing kickoff back 80 yards for a touchdown to put Milano up for good. The Eagles would score twice more in the opening frame to go up 26-8 at the end of the first.

Those touchdowns came on a four yard run from Chris Juhl and a 77-yard scamper by Sanders.

Sanders opened up the second quarter with a five yard score to stretch the Milano lead to 25 over High Island.

The Cardinals saw a small hole in the Eagle defense and Tony Reed managed a 56-yard scoring run with seven minutes left in the first half to pull his team to 33-14.

Milano then went to its aerial assault, scoring twice in the air before halftime, with Sanders hitting Melton on a 50-yard route and Alton Bryant for a 31 yard score. The Eagles were up 47-14 at the half.

The game’s lone score in the third saw Sanders score from 61 yards out. Milano put in their reserves at that point.

“It was something for us to build on,” Jentsch said. “We got to play a lot of kids (reserves) who deserve to get to play.”

The Cardinals would score to open the fourth quarter when Molen would find Loop one more time for a 20 yard score, but Milano would answer.

Senior Jaxson Robinson in at quarterback would find freshman Justin Grimes for a 10 yard touchdown, helping to lead the Eagles to the 60-22 win.

The Eagles put up 587 yards of total offense, as High Island tallied 259.

That la st number showed Milano head coach Craig Jentsch that the team needed to work hard this week.

By the numbers

Sanders led the team with 212 yards rushing on just 10 carries and passed for 154 yards, completing six of his seven passes.

The senior now has 1,786 yards rushing on the season which puts him as the school’s all-time leading rushing in single season.

He surpassed Brandon Moore’s 2000 total of 1,587 and Chad Burgess’ 1,580 in 2007. Sanders’s 1,179 yards passing in the school’s top five in single season totals.

Alton Bryant was the team’s top receiver with three hauls for 90 yards. Dominique Messer and Mayson Gibbons each garnered 11 tackles to lead the Eagles defense.

Scouting Falls City

The Beavers had on open week on Nov. 5 and earned a bye Nov. 12 in the first round of the playoffs. Their last game was Oct. 29, where they shut out Bruni 55-0.

Falls City is a pretty balanced football team according to Jentsch.

“They show you a lot of different formations but prefer to run the ball. They have a good offensive line and big (running) backs with speed,” Jentsch said. “I see why they are ranked high, they don’t have many holes.”

This is the third straight season for Falls City to reach the postseason.

In 2009 the Beavers made it all the way to the state quarterfinals. There are 13 seniors on this year’s roster.

Running back Colin Dzuik is their go to guy this season. He rushed for 1245 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2009 and also caught 13 passes for 145 yards.

Dzuik follows all-state linemen Brady Zunker and Blake Gawlik. Sophomore Cameron Soto is the team’s quarterback, moving there after starting at receiver for the Beavers as a freshman.

The Beavers offense averages 47.7 points per game; their stout defense has given up just 84 points to opponents the entire season.

Their defense has recorded three shutouts this season, while the Eagles defense has recorded two. Falls City’s only blemish on their record is a 33-14 loss to 2A Poth on Sept. 3.

Winner of the Milano-Falls City game will face the Evadale- D’Hanis v ictor next week in the regional round of the state playoffs.

Stuck in area

The area round of the postseason is the furthest that any Milano team has gone in the 11-man playoffs, now hav ing reached that round three times.

The first time in 2000 against the Cardinals and again in 2007. That team just three years ago was the first to nab an 11-man postseason victor y for MHS, beating Leakey 42-0 in bi-district.

This is the fifth time in 11 years for the Eagles to keep playing after the regular season and those trips were under four different coaches.

Milano has also reached the 11-man playoffs four other times in the past 11 years. The Eagles had back-to-back playoff appearances and district titles in 1999 and 2000, were co-district champions in 2005 and second in district in 2007.


HIGH ISLAND 22 Milano High Island 16 First downs 10 29-423 Rushing 23-79 7-9-2 Passing 12-26-2 164 Passing yards 180 587 Total yards 259 0-0 Punts-avg. 3-30.7 1-1 Fumbles-lost 0-0 6-61 Penalties 6-40

Score by quarters Milano 26 21 7 6—60 High Island 8 6 0 8—22

Scoring summary

First quarter MILANO—Thomas Sanders 10 run (kick failed) 6:48 HIGH ISLAND—Miles Loop 48 pass from Justin Molen (Molen run) 5:17 MILANO—Jordan Melton 80 kickoff return (Th. Sanders pass to Jaxson Robinson) 4:57 MILANO—Chris Juhl 4 run (kick failed) 1:29 MIL ANO—Th. Sanders 77 run (pass failed) 0:08

Second quarter MILANO—Th. Sanders 5 run (John Jentsch kick) 7:50 HIGH ISLAND—Tony Reed 56 run (run failed) 7:01 MILANO—Melton 50 pass from Th. Sanders (Jentsch kick) 6:02 MILANO—Alton Bryant 31 pass from Th. Sanders (Jentsch kick) 1:21

Third quarter MILANO—Th. Sanders 61 run (Jentsch kick) 9:14

Fourth quarter HIGH ISLAND —Loop 20 pass from Molen (Hunter Blake run) 11:14 MILANO—Justin Grimes 10 pass from Jaxson Robinson (kick failed) 4:35

Milano leaders RUSHING—Th. Sanders 10 -212 4TD, Chris Juhl 9-60 1TD, Chance Pack 6-56, Melton 1- 40, Mayson Gibbons 1-33, Robinson 1-14, Mik Mader 1-8. PASSING—Th. Sanders 6-7-1 154 yards 2TD, Robinson 1-2-1 10 yards 1TD. RECEIVING—Bryant 3-90 1TD, Melton 2-53 1TD, Robinson 1-11, Grimes 1-10 1TD. TACKLES—Dominique Messer 11, Gibbons 11, Tyler Endsley 8, Shawn Mullinnix 7.


RUSHING—Th. Sanders 158- 1768 22TD, Juhl 58-289 3TD, Gibbons 37-285 2TD, Melton 30-247 5TD, Pack 28-192.

PASSING—Th. Sanders 60-111-6 1179 yards 16TD, Robinson 17-29- 2 279 yards 4TD.

RECEIVING—Bryant 21-517 9TD, Melton 20-417 3TD, Messer 9-178 1TD, Robinson 9-107 3TD.

TACKLES—Messer 121, Gibbons 99, Jentsch 57, Mullinnix 36, Juhl 33, Turner 27, Pack 27, Endsley 24.

District Season
WL WL PtsOpp
Burton-x 5 0 10 0 505 217
Milano-y 3 2 8 3 390 218
Bartlett-z 3 2 4 7 337 330
Granger 2 3 4 6 273 277
Holland 2 3 2 8 238 343
Snook 0 5 0 10 63 545
(x-district champions; y-second seed in
playoffs; z-third seed in playoffs)
This week—Milano vs. Falls City at
Tony Burger Stadium in Austin, Bartlett
vs. Rocksprings at Hondo, Burton vs.
Petus at Edna.
Last week—Milano 60, High Island 22;
Bartlett 52, Burkeville 8. Burton had a
bye in first round.

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