Eagles’ playoff hopes in own hands after grinding Granger

Millar makes mincemeat out of Lions with 300 yards on the ground
Reporter Staff Writer

MILANO—The Milano Eagles put up 448 yards of total offense and overcame four turnovers to defeat the Granger Lions 32-20 on Friday night at Pruett Field in a key District 13A-II match up.

The Eagles’ (6-2, 2-1) playoff hopes are now in their own hands as they can only afford to lose just one of their last two district games and still reach the postseason.

Milano will travel to play Bartlett on Friday, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff set.

The Eagles fumbled the ball five times on the night, losing three of them. Two of those fumbles recovered by Granger were ran back for touchdowns.

“Our kids played extremely hard,” Eagles head coach Craig Jentsch said. “We turned the ball over way too much, but we did a good job of fighting back.”

The Lions’ (1-7, 0-3) Jake Kaderka put the first points on the board when he recovered a fumble and ran 73 yard for the score with 7:25 left in the opening quarter. The extra point attempt went wide.

Reporter/Holly Jentsch Reporter/Holly Jentsch Milano countered with a long run of their own when senior quarterback Jordan Millar scrambled 51 yards for a touchdown with 4:33 left in the first. It was the first of his four scores on the night. He tallied 300 yards rushing on just 22 carries against Granger.

The PAT attempt that followed was no good.

The Eagles would tack on another score with 3:22 left in the opening frame when Millar would hit senior receiver Nick Bonorden down the right sideline for a 52 yard score. The conversion pass failed, but Milano was up 12-6.

Millar took it in from the two yard line at 7:21 left in the half and then hit David Jentsch for the conversion pass to extend the Eagle lead to 20-6.

As time ran out in the half, Granger’s Arthur Lopez would scoop up another Milano miscue and run 44 yards for the score. Bryce Jimenez’s PAT after would cut Milano’s lead to 20-13 at the half.

The Lions kept that momentum when they started the second half, running over the Eagle defensive line. With 8:35 left in the third, David Torres, Granger’s leading rusher on the night, would scamper across the goal line from 16 yards out. Jon Castillo’s kick tied things up at 20 a piece.

Another long run by Millar just over a minute later would give Milano its final lead. He would take the ball up the middle for 60 yards for the score. The conversion run failed, but the Eagles led again 26-20.

Millar would score from eight yards out with 8:57 left in the game.

Granger didn’t give up and drove the ball down to the Milano six after the teams exchanged almost back to back fumbles.

The Eagle defense showed it’s growth and stopped the Lions at the Milano 1 on fourth and goal with 2:55 left in the game.

“Our defense stepped up quite a bit,” Coach Jentsch said. “They rose to the occasion and did a better job defending the run.”

On top of his 300 yards rushing (Milano just had 322 on the ground total), Millar was six of 16 passing for 126 yards and one pick.

Bonorden was the team’s leading receiver with two catches for 56 yards.

Milano’s top defender was Derek Walton with 12 tackles and Cody Alexander with 11 stops. Walton also recorded a sack and caused a fumble. Jentsch had a sack as well and Cole Sheppard a quarterback hurry.

Chris Rowan had a fumble recovery and Christian Grimes and interception.

For the Lions, Torres led the team in rushing with 74 yards on 11 totes.

Freshman Wyatt Messex was three of 12 in the air for 35 yards and a pick.

UP NEXT—The Eagles will face Bartlett this week, who along with Snook, are tied for second place in the league standings at 2-1, behind Burton.

“ They throw the ball pretty good and like to get out on the edge with their speed,” Coach Jentsch said. “We need to get pressure in their quarterback, get in their passing lanes and contain their outside run.”

Bartlett fell the league leading Panthers on Friday 31-13.

Milano had the Bulldogs and Snook left to play on its district schedule and Jentsch likes his team’s chances.

“We are where we wanted to be...playing for something in week nine, where there are a lot of teams that are not,” Coach Jentsch said. “If our defense can play up to our expectations and our offense continue to improve and take care of the ball, I like our chances.”

JUNIOR HIGH­— Milano’s junior high squad shut out Granger last week 30- 0, scoring all their points in the first quarter.

The young Eagles will host Bartlett at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

There is no longer a Milano junior varsity squad.

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