Big Reds win big over SMCC

By Balinda Zimmerman
Everyone knew the Milan v SMCC game would be a great match up on the Milan field. Critics were about 50/50 this year on who would run with the win and who would walk away with the upset. In the previous weeks’ game SMCC had beaten Pewamo-Wesphalia, and Milan was defeated by the Chelsea Bulldogs when they couldn’t seem to hold the defensive line long enough to stop the forward movement. That said, both Milan and SMCC had quite a turn over since last years match up so it was anyone’s game to be had. It came down to who would make the most mistakes and who could mix the game up enough to throw off the other team.
Milan started the game with Tristan Hines in the QB position again this week running straight up the middle when possible. Milan struggled with defensive holds in the 1st half of the game looking like last weeks same old game and SMCC capitalized on that momentary weakness to gain the first score with Mitchell Duvall making the run with just over 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter. Milan was able to answer back early in the 2nd quarter with a strong offensive drive and score by Tristan Hines, but where SMCC had missed their field goal with a bounce off the post, Milan earned the extra point and the lead. In a 58-yard drive SMCC put up another touchdown, this one by Collin Wolford but again they missed the twin poles for the extra point. The score sat at 12 to 7 going into halftime.
Coming back out on the field it was as though Milan had a different defensive line altogether. The defense allowed nothing to move more than a couple yards at a time and the offense was on the move more aggressively that they been yet this year. The Hines / Jones pairing for quarterback were reminiscent of Kanitz / Aceves pairing a few years back. When the running game with Hines was figured out by SMCC Hoskins would switch it up and put Jones in to pass or sneak in a handoff of his own. Early in the 3rd quarter, Hunter Aeschbacher garnered the ball on a handoff from Jones and he runs it in for a TD. Just under five minutes into the 3rd SMCC converts the 4th down and Collin Woolford plugs away against the Milan defense and makes his way across the goal for another point placement bringing the total to Milan 14, SMCC 18.
With less than two minutes left in the 3rd, Tristan Hines answers and made a 2 yard run across the goal after a 45 yard drive scoring another Milan touchdown bringing the score to Milan 20, SMCC 18. Milan’s Justin Beck tries an onside kick at this point and there was confusion on the field as to whether a Milan player touched the ball or an SMCC player, but ultimately it is ruled the ball did not travel the required 10 yards before touched and was turned over to SMCC. This put a fire under Milan players who decided immediately to fight back and make it count. Jared Smith said he made sure to get in some good hits during this game and he took #53 down hard. He said they were slow to gain momentum but by the end of the 2nd quarter it just clicked and started to come together.
Brandon Lange and Victor Knight were playing wide when SMCC fumbled the ball and Knight says, “I just fell on it and then we had the ball. I had a few good blocks in the game but yeah, when the onside kick happened it just pushed everyone to fight back and play harder to make up for it.” Aeschbacher said, “it really felt great to beat them. We were so amped up after we got screwed on the onside kick that we came back hitting hard and making it count.” Tristan Hines agreed that the defense had a hard time getting going and added, “the offensive penalties hurt the team this week the same as they had last week.” He said he had holes during the first part of the game where he could have made plays but he finally just started hitting those holes harder and making it right through them. He was excited to have gained four touchdowns in this game against SMCC.
When asked about the crazy play where Michael Furtney stripped the ball from his own Quarterback Dyllan Jones (DJ), Furtney explained. “I thought DJ was at a stalemate you know, he was pushing back and they just kept pushing him and nobody was going anywhere.” It appeared as though Jones was going down so the ref blew the whistle to down the ball but Furtney says he never heard it. “DJ was struggling so I thought I would see if I could just help out. Once I got in close, DJ “chicken winged it” (lifted his arm) and I was able to reach in and just take the ball.” He said that once he got the ball he thought he was good to go with it so he took off running. He was not aware anything was wrong until he was halfway to the goal and nobody was following him.
It was possibly the most interesting play we will see all year, maybe not the most exciting but certainly interesting.
Hines was able to grab two more touchdowns against the floundering SMCC in the 4th quarter and by the time Hunter Aeschbacher hit them with a 60 yard run with less than 25 seconds on the clock they had all but given in to the loss. The win puts Milan with 1-1 going into the match up with Flat Rock on September 8, 2017.
Balinda Zimmerman is a certified mediator, owner/operator at Milan Memories by Minna, and freelance writer for the Milan Eagle News. Balinda can be reached at 
balindaz [at] comcast [dot] net

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