November 2, 2006

Wildcats Run Wild Over SCR-I In 43-12 Defeat

A promising start was soon forgotten on Friday night as Milan recovered from some early setbacks to run over Scotland County 43-12 to eliminate SCR-I from state playoff contention.

The Tigers opened week two of district play in promising fashion. SCR-I moved the ball into scoring position on the opening possession of the contest. Marcus Shalley hit Justin Williams with a short pass that the receiver turned into a good gain with some nifty running after the catch. Shalley then went to runningback and took the handoff from Kyle Shelley to get into Milan territory. Shalley then found Bryce Blomme with a pass that marked the third fourth-down conversion of the drive and put the ball inside the 20-yard line.

But the drive stalled there and SCR-I turned the ball over on downs just 17-yards from pay dirt.

The Tigersí defense kept the momentum in SCR-Iís favor, stuffing three Milan runs and forcing a punt. That proved to be the lone punt of the game for the Wildcats and turned into a game-changing play when the officials failed to flag Milan for interfering with the punt catch. A Wildcatsí defender appeared to hit Bryce Blomme before the ball arrived, forcing him to fumble the kick, which was recovered by Milan in good field position.

Dustin Magney converted the turnover into points as he scored on a three-yard run with 43 seconds left in the first period. Cory Bennett made the PAT kick to make the score 7-0.

Eric Glass moved the chains with a pair of solid runs on the Tigersí next possession. But the drive stalled at midfield and Scotland County gave the Wildcats good field position when a fake punt play was stuffed.

Milan ate up the short field with the running of Magney and Matt Hill. Quarterback Nick Carter scored on a one-yard keeper with 4:48 to play in the first half. Bennettís kick pushed the lead to 14-0.

Scotland County came right back when Shalley connected with Grant Blomme on a 42-yard pass play that put the ball at the 10-yard line. After a quarterback sack, the Tigers were faced with fourth and goal from the 14-yard line. Shalley got rid of the ball as he was hit and Williams pulled in the touchdown pass with 3:17 left on the clock. Lance Smithís PAT kick hit the upright and was no good.

Milan regained the momentum with another solid drive. Carter connected with Bryce Richardson on a pass across the middle that put the ball at the two-yard line. Hill scored with just five seconds on the clock on a short run around the right side. A bad snap on the PAT attempt left the score at 20-6.

Scotland County got a final opportunity to score when Milanís kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Tigers the ball at the 35-yard line, and more importantly, keeping the clock from starting. So with just five ticks on the timer, Shalley dropped back and aired out a pass down the right sideline. Grant Blomme ran under the perfectly thrown ball and broke one tackle on his way to a 65-yard TD as time expired in the first half. The two-point attempt was stopped with SCR-I trailing 20-12 heading to the locker room.

Milan didnít allow SCR-I to thrive off the late score. The Wildcats took the third period kick off and took less than four minutes to march down field behind Magney and Hill. Hill capped the drive with a one-yard TD run with 8:53 left in the third period. He also ran in the two-point conversion to extend the home teamís lead to 28-12.

SCR-I responded with another big play as Shalley took the kick off and nearly went the distance before being forced out of bounds at the 10-yard line. But the Tigers coughed the ball up on a botched handoff and Milan pounced on the loose ball to steal the scoring opportunity away from Scotland County.

Milan then ate up the remainder of the third period with a 90-yard drive. Hill broke a tackle on fourth and goal to score from two-yards out on the first play of the fourth period. He again ran the two-point conversion in to push the lead to 36-12 with 11:53 left in the game.

While it was going the opposite direction, the Tigers kickoff return must have looked like a replay as Shalley again broke through the Milan defenders before being tackled out of bounds near the 10-yard line.

But the Tigers could not cover those final 10 yards and turned the ball over on downs at the eight-yard line with 10:04 on the clock.

Milan put the game away as Coach John Dabney stuck with the varsity starters for one final tally against the SCR-I junior varsity defense. Magney scored on a three-yard run with 2:48 left in the game. Bennett made the PAT kick to make the final score 43-12.

The Wildcats improved to 6-3 on the season and 5-2 in conference play and also stayed alive in the hunt for a district title. A loss last week to Marceline means Milan will have to beat Putnam County this Friday and hope that SCR-I beats Marceline. Putnam County, the lone undefeated team in the district, will advance to the playoffs with a win.

SCR-I fell to 2-7 and 1-6 in league play. Shalley completed eight of 15 passes for 157 yards and two TDs. He also ran the ball 10 times for 21 yards and had kick returns of 66 and 75 yards. Glass led the limited ground attack with 23 yards on four attempts. Grant Blomme had four catches for 130 yards and a score. Bryce Blomme caught two passes for 22 yards and Williams made four grabs for 16 yards and a TD.

Shelley led the defense with 11 tackles from the middle linebacker spot. Bryce Blomme also had 11 stops while Aaron Neagle and Lance Smith each had nine tackles.

Hill finished with 212 yards and three TDs on 27 carries. Magney added 138 yards and 2 TDs on 30 attempts. Carter completed four of six passes for 75 yards.

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