Milano drops heartbreaker to Granger in final seconds
Milano put up 12 points in the final quarter, but could not stop a last minute drive by the Lions.
On a trick play, Bryce Jimenez would find Jake Kaderka at the back of the end zone from 25 yards with seven seconds left in the game to knot the game at 25-25.
Milano’s special team squad had blocked two Granger point after attempts, but couldn’t get a hand on Joel Sifuentes’ launch that split the uprights and gave the Lions the winning point.
“We under estimated their ability to throw the ball,” Milano head coach Craig Jentsch said. “And we didn’t run the ball very well against them.”
“I do think our defense did counter their run well,” Jentsch added. The Loins had 142 ground yards, much less than the around 200 yards they had been averaging per game. Granger ended with 303 yards of total offense.
“They did a better job on the line that we did as a whole,” Jentsch said. He added that was due in part to Granger’s advantage in size on the line and Milano’s inexperience at those positions.
Despite to loss, it was another standout night for Eagle senior Dominique Messer who accounted for all but one of Milano’s points.
The caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Toby Sanders and ran in for another on his first rushing carry of the season.
Milano would score first with the first of the Messer-Sanders hookups from 40 yards out and a Jordan Millar PAT put the Eagles up 7-0.
Granger responded quickly. On its first play from scrimmage Lions quarterback Preston Jimenez found Jake Kaderka for a 48 yard touchdown.
Sifuentes’ extra point tied things up with 10:13 left in the opening quarter.
Milano would go three and out before giving the ball right back to the Lions.
Granger would eat up time and yards, and Preston Jimenez would dive in from the two to put the Lions up 13-7 at 3:02 in the first. The PAT was blocked by the Eagle defense.
Teams would go scoreless in the second frame, but Milano would get very close.
The Eagles would drive down to the Granger one yard line. Sanders would try to find Messer in the corner of the end zone, but would be picked off by Garrett Drake with 1:03 left in the half.
Milano kicked off to the Lions in the second half, but Granger would fumble the catch and the Eagles recovered at the Lions 37.
A facemask call on Granger would help move the ball down the field and so would nice footwork by Sanders.
This time he found Messer on a short 15 yard pass for the score. Millar’s PAT missed and the game was tied 13-13 with 8:11 left in the third.
Granger attempted to put points on the board that quarter but couldn’t.
Sifuentes tried and failed at a 26 yard field goal attempt with 4:33 left in the frame.
A bad punt by Milano at the end of the third would set the Lions up on a short field at their won 34.
Five seconds into the fourth quarter, Preston Jimenez threw a scoring pass to Bryce Jimenez to put Granger up 19-13. Milano’s defense would block Sifuentes’ PAT again.
After trailing possessions and Milano getting good field position on a botched Granger punt, the Eagles would tie things up.
On their third connection of the night, Sanders would hit Messer with a 34 yard bomb and another Eagle score. This time the Lions’ defense would block the PAT attempt, leaving the teams knotted at 19-19 with 7:18 left in the game.
Milano would stop Granger’s ensuing drive with a fourth and three stop, but the Lions would stop the Eagles’ next possession when they could not convert either.
Granger’s Brandon Williams would get the hand off on second and twenty, but would fumble the ball at the Lion 35 and Eagle Tyler Prazak would recover with 4:16 remaining in the game.
Milano would end up first and goal at the Granger 15 after a penalty and pull out a little trickery.
Messer would get his first rushing carry of the year. With a pitch from Millar, Messer would scramble 15 yards for the score with 2:42 left in the game. The conversion pass attempt would fail, but the Eagles would go up 25-19.
The Lions would run the ball down the field, setting up the winning score.
Milano would receive the ball with seven seconds left, giving them a chance at one more play.
Sanders would take the snap from the Eagle 33 and sail a bomb down to Messer at the Granger 20. The ball would fall incomplete as time expired.
Sanders was the Eagles’ top passer with 97 yards on five of 13 passes. However, he also threw two interceptions.
Messer garnered 130 yards on those five receptions.
Millar was the Eagles’ top rusher with 27 yards on eight carries. Sanders had 25 yards on 14 totes.
Messer had 19 tackles to lead the Eagles, followed by Millar with 16. David Jentsch had 13 tackles including a sack.
Sophomore lineman Trent Ellison also recorded a sack and eight tackles, but that will be the last playing time he will see for the season.
Ellison severely injured his leg during the first half according to Jentsch and won’t return this season.
Brandon Williams was Granger’s top rusher with 58 yards on seven carries.
Preston Jimenez was seven of nine passing for 133 yards.
His favorite target was Bryce Jimenez who had four catches for 82 yards.
Milano will host Bartlett (4-4, 2-1) on “senior night” at Pruett Field this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
This game has huge playoff implications for both squads, as the loser will most likely not reach the post-season.
“It is going to be a tough game, but we can win. We will have to play good football and take good care of the ball,” Jentsch said. “I am glad we have them at home and feel that will be to our advantage.”
It will be Milano’s last home game of the season.
“I like our playoff changes as much now as I did at the beginning of the year,” Jentsch said. “I feel like our kids will bounce back, pull our boots up and take care of business.”
Bartlett is coming off of a big 47-7 loss at the hands of No. 9 and district leading Burton. The Bulldogs turned the ball over several times, three of them leading to Burton touchdowns.
“They aren’t tall but they are fast,” Coach Jentsch said of Bartlett. “They have one kid (C.J. Roles) who might be the fastest player in the district.”
Jentsch also said the Bulldogs are a lot like Milano, whereas they aren’t that big, but really scrappy.
“The like to run the ball and get it out to the flats and to those fast guys,” he added. “They are always well prepared. Coach (Joe) Mullins always does a great job.”
Bartlett returns eight starters on either side of the ball off last year’s 3-7 team that just missed out on the playoffs.
In their 2011 meeting, Milano defeated Bartlett 41-14.
Due to Milano’s volleyball team playing its first playoff game on Thursday night, the Eagles’ junior high squad was to play at Bartlett on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 5 p.m.
Milano’s junior varsity team will host Iola at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at Pruett Field.
This week—Bartlett at Milano, Snook at Burton, Somerville at Granger.
Last week—Granger 26, Milano 25; Burton 47, Bartlett 7; Snook 33, Somerville 0.
MILANO SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Millar 82-611 6TD; Sanders 67-320 6TD; Pack 40-218 TD; Gallarado 21-143 3TD; Walton 33-84 TD; Neal 10-63 TD.
Passing—Sanders 24-69-4 417 yards 7TD; Millar 8-23-0 159 yards 3TD; Walton 1-2-0 36 yards; Jentsch 1-3-0 27 yards TD.
Receiving—Messer 22-537 10TD; Millar 4-54 TD; Mader 4-23; Grimes 2-16.
Tackles—Messer 105, Ellison 57, Millar 52, Prazak 41, Jentsch 40, Hairston 30, Alex Ferrara 29, Rowan 28, Derek Walton 26.