Oakwood was the only team to beat them in the regular season a year ago, and Milton Union proved they hadn’t forgotten, or forgiven, in a 45-13 of the Lumberjacks on Thursday Night Football.
West Milton, OH – To a man, from coach to kicker, the Milton Union Bulldogs confessed a bit more than average motivation prior to their 45-13 win over Oakwood Thursday night, a game televised on Dayton television, channel 45.
A year ago Oakwood surprised Milton at home, caught them flat, took advantage of a late penalty, and handed the Bulldogs their only regular season loss of the year, 28-20.
“We weren’t focused last year, we took it light, and they beat us,” said senior defensive back Cooper Brown Thursday. “We thought about it all year. And tonight we were fired up and ready to play. We made sure they knew we remembered.”
“I didn’t want to feel the same way I felt last year,” said senior tackle Ethan Lane. “I had a bad penalty at the end of that game, I was down in the dumps over it, and tonight it really feels good to get this win.”
“Absolutely,” added Bulldogs coach Bret Pearce. “They’ve been waiting a year for tonight. When you go 9-1 that team that hangs the one on you has a little special place in our heart. We’d been preparing for this one for a while.”
A win of atonement, you might say, as Milton set about taking the heart out of Oakwood, scoring on their initial possession midway through the first quarter when Blake Brumbaugh ran clear across the formation to score from 26 yards out to put the Bulldogs up, 7-0.
Only…Oakwood proved early that they had some heart to spare, scoring with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter on a 32 yard pass from quarterback Stephen Lauterbach to receiver John Parker. Milton blocked the extra point, but still led, 7-6.
But on their next possession to open the second quarter, Brumbaugh again scored, this time on a 7 yard pass from Nate Morter, capping a 65 yard drive to go back up by eight point, 14-6.
On their next drive, Oakwood answered…again with Lauterbach and Parker catching Milton’s secondary flat-footed, Parker racing 67 yards on a post route to keep things close at 14-13.
But on the ensuing kickoff Milton’s Conner Gibson gathered in the ball on the hash mark, cut to the sideline and sprinted 50 yards before being brought down, setting the Bulldogs up on the Oakwood 29 yard line. The crowd howled, sensing touchdown, but on the third play from scrimmage Jordan Foose coughed up the ball and Oakwood fell on it for a momentary reprieve.
Momentary, that is, because the Lumberjacks went three-and-out, and when they had to punt Blake Brumbaugh caught the football and took it right back to near the line of scrimmage…to the Oakwood 16 yard line. Four plays later tailback Michael Elam huffed, and bucked, and carried a pair of Oakwood tacklers with him into the end zone to put Milton up by eight point, 21-13.
From that point on it was all Milton, all night, and all year for Oakwood, as Brumbaugh and company made sure they would remember.
With :23 seconds remaining before the half Morter hooked up with Brumbaugh for his third touchdown of the night, a five-yard strike in the corner of the end zone to make the score 28-13 at the break.
Coming out for the second half, Milton took the kickoff and Morter immediately found Brumbaugh for 50 yards down the Oakwood sideline, and out of bounds at the 20 yard line. Two plays later Morter connected with tight end Connor Yates at 10:10 for a touchdown to make the score 35-13.
Now the Memorial Stadium crowd got into it, sensing the 30-point deficit that would signal the running clock and a little insult to mounting injury on the Oakwood bench. And at 2:37 of the third quarter they got what they wanted…a Morter 47 yard strike to Brumbaugh, who caught the ball between a pair of defenders, and went into the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the night and a 42-13 lead, one point shy of the needed 30.
That came soon enough, however, as five minutes later kicker Mason Grudich clocked a 39 yard field goal to put the ‘Dogs up by 45-13 with 3:33 left, and that was the end of it.
Blake Brumbaugh finished the game with 6 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns, but another 49 yards rushing and a pair of scores.
“That game from last year got us going,” he admitted afterwards. “We played a really bad game, and Coach reminded us.”
Coincidence, perhaps, but Milton had most of its starters in right up until the end of the game.
“Maybe, a little bit,” Brumbaugh smiled. “He took them out there at the end.”
“We weren’t at running clock, yet. We were only up 29 points,” corrected Pearce, when asked. “And they had shown some big play capability. Both of their scores came on big plays.”
Officially, then, they were leaving nothing to chance.
“Our offensive and defensive lines really controlled the line of scrimmage,” added Pearce. “And we had our linemen in the game near the end with some different running backs to eat up clock.
“But our skills guys were able to take advantage of our line play and make big, spectacular plays. Blake Brumbaugh had a pretty good night.”
Unofficially Milton finished with 372 yards of total offense, and once again they showed the assortment of weapons at hand – Michael Elam for tough yards and his first half touchdown…Jordan Foose as a change-of-pace back…Connor Yates…Cooper Brown, et. al.
And with back to back wins over Valley View and Oakwood, the ‘Dogs may not be stressed throughout the remainder of their Three Rivers Conference schedule until a meeting with Northridge , on the road, October 14.
“I don’t know that that’s true,” cautioned Pearce. “We haven’t seen any of the TRC teams yet on film, and I’m sure some are going to be better than we think, and some won’t be as good as we think. That’s the way it always is. We came into this year with our slogan being to be 1-0 each week. The kids have bought into that, and we’ve just got to go one game at a time.”
So yes, they’re 1-0 after week 3…but a lot better than your average 1-0. This ‘1’ was one to remember.