Week 3: Aquin vs Milledgeville
It was an excellent Saturday afternoon for a high school football game at Floyd Daub Field in Milledgeville, where the Missiles of Milledgeville played host to the Aquin Bulldogs in an NUIC South showdown that featured undefeated teams.
Both teams would exchange punts on their first series, but it was Aquin who would get on the board first after Will Gustafson would take a QB keeper up the middle, take a hit, stumble, regain his footing and dart 80 yards to the end zone for a 6-0 lead with 8:35 to play in the 1st quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff by Evan Broge the Bulldogs would hit a perfect onside kick that was recovered by Andrew Bowman for the Bulldogs, setting Aquin up at the Milledgeville 49 yard line. The Dawgs would hit the ground running behind Ty Stykel and Gustafson in their shotgun option offense. Gustafson would find Bowman on a 9 yard reception, and later connected with Brennan Carlson on a 6 yard TD pass to put Aquin up 12-0 with 4:32 to play in the 1st quarter.
Just as the game seemed to be spiraling out of control so quickly, the Missiles had an unusual answer. After fielding another onside kick attempt by Aquin, the Missiles would get possession at their own 43 yard line. The first play was a dive by Damon Miller for no yards. Digging into his bag of ideas, Coach Wroble dialed up an end around pass play. Nick Smith took the snap, tossed it to Daniel Lohnes, who connected with Ryan Kendall for a 57 yard TD. Smith would run the same play that worked against Forreston the week before on the 2 point conversion and connected with Kendall to cut the deficit to 12-8 in favor of Aquin with 3:31 left in the 1st quarter.
On the next series Aquin went back to the ground, but found themselves facing a passing situation. Calling up a blitz off from the left side of the defense, Lohnes reached Gustafson in the act of passing and getting the strip sack and the fumble recovery for the Missiles at the Aquin 36 yard line. Following runs by Ashton Nobis and Kendall, Smith dropped back to pass and found Lohnes over his right shoulder by the right pylon for a 23 yard TD pass. The 2 point try failed, but Milledgeville took the lead 14-12 with 9:35 to go in the first half.
Not to sit back, Aquin quickly loaded up as Gustafson connected with Stykel on an 8 yard pass play, and then both would rush the ball to the Milledgeville 42 yard line. From there, Stykel picked up where he left off last week, and scampered through a hole up the middle for a 42 yard rushing TD. Evan Broge kicked the extra point and Aquin was back in front 19-14 with 7:10 to go until halftime.
Aquin would force Milledgeville to punt from their own 45 yard line. Milledgeville punter Ashton Nobis showed how effective he can be in changing field positions, as he pinned Aquin deep time after time. On this punt it appeared he would do so once again, but Gustafson slithered his way out of oncoming tacklers and returned the punt 44 yards to the Missile 47 yard line. It appeared things may happen, but the Missile defense stood up when it needed to, along with benefit of Aquin penalties to force a punt.
Milledgeville would push back on another drive as Smith found Kendall for a 23 yard gain, and Miller, Kendall, and Smith kept the run game going, but the Bulldogs would stymie the Missiles and turn them away at the Bulldog 29 yard line. Aquin would try to make a play before the half, but Gustafson's pass was picked off by Gage Wilk. With 16 seconds left on the clock and setting up at the Bulldog 29 yard line again, the Missiles tried to make a play on the ground with no luck. Aquin would hold the 19-14 lead heading into the half.
In the second half, Aquin got a quick boost as Smith was hit and fumbled the ball. Jumping on it for the Dawgs was Gavin Hunziker. Going to the ground the Dawgs would quickly chew up 59 yards and 4 minutes off the clock as Gustafson would get loose for a 19 yard TD run. A little trickery on the 2 point conversion saw kicker Evan Broge take a no look toss and pass it to the end zone and connect with Ollie Arndt to lengthen the Bulldog lead to 27-14 with 5:29 to go in the 3rd quarter.
After forcing a punt and getting the ball at their own 19 yard line, Stykel would take the handoff up the middle and found nothing but open grass as he outran everyone for an 81 yard TD run. After Broge's PAT kick was good, the Dawgs were in control 34-14 with 4:17 to go in the 3rd.
On the ensuing kickoff Broge set up for the onside and for the second time on the day the Dawgs would recover, this time Brennan Carlson taking the ball right out of the air at the Milledgeville 47 yard line. The drive wouldn't sustain, but Aquin would have the ball back 3 minutes later at their own 46 yard line. This time they would chew up some time off the clock and the drive would end on a Stykel 1 yard plunge to give Aquin a 40-14 lead that would become the final score.
While the score differential was large, the Missiles put a great fight against a very powerful Aquin offense that people say may be the best in the state.
The Bulldogs were paced by Ty Stykel, who had his 2nd consecutive 200 yard rushing game. He went for 230 yards on 22 attempts and 3 TD's on the day. Gustafson would add 187 yards rushing on 13 attempts and 2 TD's as the Dawgs put up 417 yards rushing on the day. Gustafson would go 8-16 passing for 81 yards and another score. Andrew Bowman would catch 4 passes for 38 yards, while Brennan Carlson picked up 34 yards receiving on 3 receptions and a TD.
Milledgeville was led by Daniel Lohnes who would have 57 yards passing for a TD, 23 yards receiving for another TD, and a strip sack with a fumble recovery that set up their 2nd TD on the day. Nick Smith was 3-7 passing for 52 yards and a TD. Damon Miller was a force on defense for the Missiles and added 20 yards rushing. Ryan Kendall was all over the field on defense as well, and rushed for 48 yards and had 86 yards receiving with a TD.
Aquin (3-0) will play host to East Dubuque (1-2) in an NUIC crossover game. Milledgeville (2-1) will head to Lanark to face EPC (2-1) in a pivotal NUIC South matchup.