In a heavyweight NUIC Upstate battle, two teams who still have a chance to finish with a portion of the conference championship slugged it out at Aquin High School in Freeport. The Milledgeville Missiles bring their hard-hitting power offense to the home of the Bulldogs in hopes of slowing up the high flying Aquin offense.
The first two drives of the game allowed for Aquin to take control of field position very early, pinning the Missles back at their 11-yard line starting their second drive over halfway through the first half. The Aquin defense stood tough and only gave up 4 yards on their drive. On the ensuing punt, Keegan Koester made a huge return to the Missile 23-yard line with just over 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter.
Aquin seemed to be snuffed out by the Missile defense, not being able to run the ball the way they would like, gaining only a couple of yards. Until they ran a play action screen pass to Cole Stykel, which sucked the entire Missile defense down, allowing Stykel to walk in to the end zone. This touchdown moved the score to 7-0 Aquin with 1:53 left in the first quarter.
On the next Missile drive, the Bulldogs were able to force a fumble deep in Missile territory, and start yet another drive inside the Milledgeville 25-yard line. Yet again the Bulldogs would start a drive looking into the Missile end zone. On a long 3rd and 20, the Bulldogs again turned to a screen to convert a huge 3rd down and save their drive. After that, the Bulldogs would score on a 20-yard pass from Jonah Diemer to Bryce Carlson. The Zac Cummins PAT was good making the score 14-0 in favor of Aquin with 11:13 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The Aquin defense would stand tough on the next drive, forcing a turnover on downs after only 4 plays. The Aquin offense would take over on the Missile side of the field for the 3rd consecutive drive, hoping to put the game out of reach. On the first play of the next Aquin drive, the Missile defense would show that they are indeed still in the game, forcing an 11-yard loss on Jonah Diemer. The next play would see the Missile defense forcing a big fumble taking the ball at midfield.
The Missiles would try and ride that momentum down into Aquin’s side of the field. The multitude of running attacks that the Milledgeville Missiles came at the Bulldog defense would prove to be tough to stop. The Missiles showed some option, Wing-T, Double Wing, and even some shotgun draws just to throw different looks at Aquin. The Missles would convert on a 4th down to keep their drive alive at the 25-yard line. Milledgeville’s Nathan Ron would pound the ball inside and out on the Bulldogs all the way down the field on this drive. The Aquin defense would stand tough and force a sack on 4th down to end Milledgeville’s first threat to score in the first half.
After two back and forth possessions, the bulldogs were struggling on their second drive of the half until one play changed the momentum. Aquin would score the first touchdown of the half on a huge 51 yard run by Cole Luedeking, beating a Milledgeveille blitz. The score would move to 21-0 Aquin 7:21 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Another big play by Cooper Arendt would put the Bulldogs on the board yet again. Arendt would split 2 defenders, catch the ball and walk untouched into the end zone for a 68-yard touchdown. Putting the Bulldogs up 28-0 with 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Staying with the theme of the long plays, Cole Luedeking would break a long 60-yard run to finish off Aquin’s scoring in the 3rd quarter, moving the score to 35-0 in favor of Aquin with just over 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The Bulldogs would force a Milledgeville fumble deep in Missile territory, and would convert this into yet another score. However, these points would only come in 3, being a 28-yard field goal by Zac Cummins. This brought the score to 38-0 with 6:10 remaining in the game. This score would stay true through the rest of the game. Both the Milledgeville Missiles and the Aquin Bulldogs finish the regular season at 7-2.
IHSA Playoffs, Round 1