Eagles ring up Runge, Bruni next
DRIPPING SPRINGS—Milano Eagles head coach Craig Jentsch said his team needed to hold on to the ball and keep Runge from putting together long drives to win their Class A bi-district playoff game on Friday.
The Eagles (9-2) were able to overcome three turnovers in the first half to defeat the Yellowjackets 41-18 at Tiger Stadium.
Milano will now face District 16A-II champion Bruni Badgers (9-1) at Frank Mata Memorial Stadium in San Antonio. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Eagles are the second place team out of 13A-II and Runge was the third place squad in 14A-II.
“We had to keep a hold of the football and stop them from having long drives and in the first half that didn’t happen,” Milano head coach Craig Jentsch said. “We would hold them to one or two yards on first and second down and then they’d gain nine on third down.”
Milano jumped out to a 7- 0 lead early in the first when quarterback Jordan Millar found senior tight end David Jentsch for a 19 yard touchdown pass. Mik Mader’s point after attempt was good and Milano was up 7-0.
The Yellowjackets answered after a Milano turnover when quarterback Jeric Esparsa bolted for a 25 yards score with 9:19 left in the half. Ryan Saucedo’s PAT missed and the Eagles maintained a 7-6 lead.
Millar found pay dirt form six yards out at 5:49 in the second quarter. Another Mader PAT made it 14-6 Eagles.
Runge (7-3) kept it interesting as Esparsa ran it in from the 14 to score with just 48 seconds left in the half. The conversion pass from Esparsa to Richard Ramirez fell and Milano took a 14-12 lead into the break.
“There were big and pounded the ball right at us,” he said.
But defense adjustments at the break by the Eagles allowed their offense to start rolling.
On Runge’s first offensive possession of the second half, Milano’s defense made a huge stop.
“They were at our two and had to reach the one for a first down. Our defense held and pushed them back and then we drove 97 yards and scored,” Coach Jentsch said. That was a big momentum push for the Eagles.
“ Our defense played a lot tougher in the second half and we minimized our turnovers,” Coach Jentsch said.
That 97 yard drive ended when Millar found Nick Bonorden for a 33 yard score with 2:30 left in the third. Another Mader PAT made it 21-12 Milano.
Twenty-three seconds latter, Milano and Millar responded again. The senior scrambled 32 yards for the score. Mader’s kick was true and Milano led 28-18 heading in to the final quarter.
The Eagles defense would shut down the Yellowjackets in the final frame, holding them scoreless.
Millar, however, would score twice more in the fourth. He would hit pay dirt from 37 and 62 yards out. Mader’s PAT after the 37 yards score was blocked, but he made the one after Millar’s 62 yard sprint.
Millar tallied 302 rushing yards on 19 carried on the night. He was also six of nine passing for 124 yards, two scores and two interceptions.
Chance Pack had 39 rushing yards on five carries. He also fumbled the ball once.
Jentsch was Mi lano’s top receiver with three catches for 57 yards. Bonorden had two catches for 33 yards and Mader caught a 14-yard pass.
On defense, the Eagles were led in tackles by Derek Walton Bonorden with 13 each. Christian Grimes and Cole Sheppard snagged 10 each. Grimes also caused and recovered a Runge fumble.
For Runge, Barnes was the top rusher with 165 yards on 17 carries. Esparsa carried the ball 17 time as well, totaling 113 yards.
Esparsa was three of seven passing for 34 yards.
Kevin Torres was the Yellowjackets top receiver with three catches for 25 yards.
As of Friday’s game, Millar has comprised 3,147 yards this season (2,094 rushing and 1,053 yards passing).
His career total offensive yardage is at 4,587.
The Badgers might be a bit rusty, as they had an open date on their last week of the regular season and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Bruni hasn’t played a game since Nov. 1 when they defeated Agua Dulce 42-13.
The Badgers only loss is a 46-6 thrashing at the hands of LaVilla on Sept. 27.
“They run a true slot-T offense and are not as big as Bruni, but are faster,” Coach Jentsch said of Bruni. “They can throw the ball if they need to as well.”
Bruni averages 261 rushing yards per game and just 41 passing yards per outing.
The Badgers are led by a crew of running backs, anchored by freshman Joseph Cruz. He had 714 yards on 70 carries and six touchdowns.
Armando Vergara, a senior, is a dual threat for the Badger offense. He has rushed for 520 yards on 48 caries and seven touchdowns and also has 10 catches for 157 yards and seven more scores. Senior Joel Lopez has ran for 387 yards on 74 rushes and seven touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Derly Carrizales (5-11, 170) has 443 rushing yards on 62 totes and is 24 of 56 passing for 226 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
Senior linebacker Joe Valderas leads the team in tackles with 124 on the season, eight of those for a loss.
Lopez has 91 tackles, six for losses.
Coach Jentsch said that his goal this week is to keep his team focused, in shape and healthy.
“We are going to brush up on everything this week, work on some keys on defense and get our O-line ready,” he said.
This post-season berth is the just the eighth for Milano in the school’s 11-man football history. Other playoff appearances were made in 1976, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
The Eagles have now won just four playoff games (2007, 2010, 2011, 2013) and have never advanced past the area round of the post-season.
Milano has made it to the playoffs three of the four years Jentsch has been the head coach.