Milano’s historic season ends in regional round

Eagles set school record for wins


Milano receiver Christian Thurman wrestles for the ball with Falls City’s Dillon Dziuk. 
Holly Jentschphoto Milano receiver Christian Thurman wrestles for the ball with Falls City’s Dillon Dziuk. Holly Jentschphoto WHITE MOUNTAIN— Despite the incredible success, for Milano, the season was not long enough.

The Eagles battled for three quarters with Falls City but could not maintain the momentum in the final period in a 40-20 loss in the Class 2A Division II regional playoffs Friday at Bob Shelton Stadium.

Despite the loss, it was an historic season for the Eagles, who established a school record for wins with 11 and reached the third round of the playoffs for just the second time in school history.

“This loss does not define our season,” said Chad LaGrone, who completed his 12th year as Milano head coach, with a school-best 66 wins. “What we were able to accomplish all year was incredible. Our kids believed in themselves all year.

“I am very proud of the effort we’ve gotten this year. What a season we had.”


Following wing man Kathen Funburg (19), Ronnie Messer (8) seeks out some running room. At right, Devonte Jones takes off on an 80-yard kickoff return to open the second half to pull the Eagles back in the game. Following wing man Kathen Funburg (19), Ronnie Messer (8) seeks out some running room. At right, Devonte Jones takes off on an 80-yard kickoff return to open the second half to pull the Eagles back in the game. Milano—which finished second in District 13-2AII— knocked off four district champions along the way (Thrall, Iola, Bremond, Woodsboro).

“I think that says a lot about our team,” LaGrone said.

The Eagles also put a stop to Bremond’s winning streak at 49, handing the three-time defending state champions their first loss in 50 games.

After the win over Bremond, Milano rose to No. 10 in the rankings, its highest position since 1999.

Senior quarterback Kyle King closes his outstanding career with a school record 7,612 total yards with 100 touchdowns.

The four-year starter established a new single season passing record with 2,059 yards and 28 touchdowns. He threw for 4,858 yards and 58 touchdowns in his career.


Holly Jentsch photos Holly Jentsch photos Against Falls City, untimely penalties cost Milano three touchdowns.

“They were legit calls, but they were momentum killers for us” LaGrone said. “We played pretty solid otherwise.”

The Eagles also lost two key linemen—Arthur Soto and Jake Turnage—to injury.

“They outplayed us,” said LaGrone. “We couldn’t stop them. Our defense didn’t play like we had all year and this was not a good time for this.”

The Eagles’ “fire ant” defense entered the contest allowing just 13 points a game. Falls City came in putting up 52 points per outing.

Down 21-7 at halftime, Milano mounted a comeback beginning with Devonte Jones’ 80-yard kickoff return to open the second half.


Milano Coach Chad LaGrone speaks to his team after the regional loss to Falls City. 
Holly Jentsch photo Milano Coach Chad LaGrone speaks to his team after the regional loss to Falls City. Holly Jentsch photo King’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Donald Grosshans with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left in the third quarter to cut Falls City’s lead to 21-20, but the Beavers blocked the extra point then scored three unanswered touchdowns to put away the game for their ninth straight win.

The Cowboys were able to contain the dangerous King, limiting him to 47 yards on 16 carries without a touchdown.

King was 18-of-31 through the air with 136 yards and two scores.

Jones paced the Eagles ground game with 53 yards on just five carries. Jones also hauled in four passes for 35 yards.

Grosshans spearheaded the Milano defense with 16 tackles from his linebacking slot.

Falls City standout quarterback Keyshawn Johnson has been difficult to defense all season and Friday was no different.

Johnson ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and also passed for 114 yards and four scores.

Falls City knocked Milano out of the playoffs last season with a 45-21 victory.

Falls City (11-2) advances to face District 13-2A-II champion Burton (12-1) in the state quarterfinals next week.

Scoring summary

First quarter FALLS CITY—Dillon Dziuk 35 pass from Keyshawn Johnson (Johnson fun) 6:33 MILANO—Timothy Demeritt 7 pass from Kyle King (Kevin Garcia kick) 0:51

Second quarter FALLS CITY—Tyler Gonzales 2 pass from Johnson (run failed) 7:19 FALLS CITY—Derrick Gonzalez 39 pass from Johnson (Corey Dziuk kick) 0:18

Third quarter MILANO—Devonte Jones 80 kickoff return (Garcia kick) 11:46 MILANO—Donald Grosshans 7 pass from King (kick blocked) 3:09 FALLS CITY—Johnson 15 run (run failed) 0:54

Fourth quarter FALLS CITY—Gonzalez 4 pass from Johnson (C. Dziuk kick) 7:19 FALLS CITY—Johnson 7 run (kick failed) 1:47

Individual stats

Rushing: MILANO— Devonte Jones 5-52, Kyle King 14-47, Ronnie Messer 6-34, Kathen Funburg 2-8. FALLS CITY—Keyshawn Johnson 25-149-2TD, Andew Malcolm 11-51, Corey Dziuk 1-0.

Passing: MILANO— Kyle King 18-31-2 136 yards 2TD. FALLS CITY—Keyshawn Johnson 10-14-0 114 yards 4TD.

Receiving: MILANO—Devonte Jones 4-35, Donald Grosshans 3-31 TD, Ronnie Messer 2-23, Christian Thurman 4-20, Timothy Demeritt 3-11-1TD, Arthur Soto 1-10, Kathen Funburg 1-6. FALLS CITY— Derrick Gonzalez 3-54 2TD, Dillon Dziuk 2-51 TD, Corey Dziuk 2-11, Tyler Gonzales 1-2 TD, Andrew Malcolm 2-(-4).

Tackles: Donald Grosshans 16, Kathen Funburg 13, Ronnie Messer 10, Kameron Funburg 10, Kevin Garcia 7, Kyle King 6, Trebeaux Broussard 5, Ben King 4, Eddie West 4, Keaton Popham 3, Devonte Jones 3, Joseph Luce 1, Cody Starkey 1, Danny Cloud 1, Jeremy Reyes 1.

EAGLE SEASON LEADERS

Rushing— King 177-1,191 21 TD, Funburg 117-874 8TD, Messer 59-503 5TD.

Passing— King 118-204-12, 2,059 yards 28 TD.

Receiving—Jones 36-722 8TD, Demeritt 24-419 6TD, Thurman 24-389 6TD, Soto 15-257 4TD, Messer 12-209 2TD, Funburg 1-5 TD.

Tackles—Funburg 114, Messer 106, Grosshans 105, King 92, Garcia 85, West 80, King, B. 69, Kam. Funburg 59, Popham 38, Thurman 30.

SEASON RESULTS (11-2)
Milano 47, Thorndale 28
Milano 7, Thrall 6
Milano 28, Bremond 21
Milano 28, Iola 7
Milano 41, St. Joseph 7
Milano 52, Bartlett 0
Milano 49, Granger 6
Burton 36, Milano 31
Milano 49, Snook 12
Milano 49, Somerville 21
Milano 41, D’Hanis 0
Milano 56, Woodsboro 20
Falls City 40, Milano 20


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