By Josh Brown
WEST MILTON — Trailing Madison in another low-scoring game late, Milton-Union coach Mark Lane remained confident.
“Defensively, we just weren’t letting their offense go anywhere,” Lane said. “I looked at Bret Pearce, the offensive coordinator, and just said ‘I trust you. Keep the offense plugging away, and we’re going to pop one.’”
Krue Thwaits made that prediction come true.
Thwaits broke a 64-yard touchdown run with 2:46 left in the game, and the Milton-Union defense did the rest from there as the Bulldogs knocked off the defending Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division champion Mohawks 13-10 Friday night to take control of the division lead.
“I had so much faith in those kids that they were going to get the job done,” Lane said. “That’s exactly what happened. We popped one. This was a huge win. That’s what you call a program win right there.”
Milton-Union — which lost 14-7 at Madison last season and finished tied for second behind the 6-0 Mohawks at 4-2 in SWBL Buckeye play — improved to 5-1 with the win and, more importantly, 3-0 at the midway point of SWBL Buckeye play, leaving the Bulldogs, Carlisle and Dixie as the only three teams without a division loss. Madison fell to 4-2 and 1-1 in the Buckeye.
And, like last year’s game, it was a rainy, muddy night that made the going tough for both offenses, as the teams barely broke the 300-total-yards mark combined.
“The field conditions were terrible. It was the same situation as last year,” Lane said. “We made a couple mistakes on special teams, gave them scores. Defensively, we held them to three points. The kids just played a career defensive game. I couldn’t be more proud of how the defense played. And the offense just kept plugging along and plugging along, and we popped a touchdown at the end.”
Zach Vagedes threw a touchdown pass to Zac Shields for the Bulldogs’ first score of the game, but Madison broke a touchdown run on the ensuing kickoff to go up 10-7 at halftime — and that’s where things remained until the final three minutes of the game.
Thwaits finished with 99 yards — the majority of them coming on the game-winning run.
The Bulldogs travel to Brookville in Week 7 for one final non-league game before finishing the season at Carlisle in Week 8 and then at home against Dixie and Waynesville in the final two weeks of the season.
“We’re controlling our own destiny right now,” Lane said. “That’s the huge part. We’ve got a long road ahead still with a lot of good teams left to play, but we’re in control of what happens.”
TC North 13
LEWISBURG — Covington quarterback Nathan Blei set the school record for most passing yards in a single game Friday night, leading the Buccaneers to a resounding 41-13 victory over Tri-County North atop the Cross County Conference — setting up a titanic showdown on Thursday for the league lead.
Blei was 13 for 17 for 293 yards against the Panthers (4-2, 4-1 CCC), throwing a string of three unanswered touchdown passes in the second quarter to give control to the Buccs (6-0, 4-0 CCC). First, he hit Tristin Sowers with a 61-yard touchdown pass, then the duo hooked up again on a 58-yard score. Blei capped off the half with a 16-yard touchdown to Zach Parrett, and Covington led 20-7 at the break.
After the Panthers scored to cut the lead to 20-13 early in the third, Lance Miller protected a lengthy drive by the Buccs by falling on a fumble in the end zone for an insurance score, then Blei hit Branden Robinson with a 35-yard touchdown pass to put it out of reach for good. Miller added one last 12-yard score late to seal it.
The Buccs host Miami East — the only other unbeaten team in CCC play — Thursday night.
Troy Christian 47,
ANSONIA — Having lost for the first time last week in a battle between the top two teams in its region, Troy Christian enjoyed a relatively easy win Friday night, 47-0 on the road at Ansonia, before returning home next week for another potential battle.
The Eagles (5-1) maintained their No. 2 spot in the Division VII, Region 28 playoff standings with the win over the Tigers, who fell to 1-5 on the season. The win came on the heels of a 27-26 loss to Covington, the No. 1 team in the region.
Troy Christian hosts 4-2 Tri-County North in Week 7 — a Division VI team, meaning a lot of computer points will be up for grabs for the Eagles.
BRADFORD — The Bradford Railroaders (1-5) departed the ranks of winless teams in Division VII, Region 28 Friday night, pulling away from Manchester and cruising to a 37-12 victory — the team’s first of the year.
Andrew Branson hit Dialaquan Millhouse for a 30-yard touchdown pass for the game’s first score, then Hunter Penkal broke a 34-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0. Jake Barga then caught a 25-yard touchdown from Branson to make it 22-0 at the break. Millhouse added a punt return for a touchdown to make it 30-0 in the third quarter before Manchester (1-5) got its first score of the game. Branson then hit Mason Justice for a third touchdown pass of the night, a 26-yarder that made it 37-6, and the Railroaders finished it off from there.
Bradford travels to 0-6 Jefferson — which is Manchester’s only victory on the year — in Week 7.
SIDNEY — The Piqua Indians (4-2, 1-0 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) won their third straight Thursday night, jumping out to a 20-0 halftime lead at Sidney and coasting to a 33-13 victory in both teams’ division opener.
Allen Schrubb scored on touchdown runs of 5 and 7 yards to make it 12-0 after the first quarter, then Hayden Schrubb caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to make it 20-0 at the break. Sidney finally got on the board early in the third, but Piqua answered with a 13-yard score by Allen Schrubb to make it a 20-point game. Ben Schmiesing added a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth to put it away.
Piqua hosts Greenville in Week 7.
SIDNEY — Lehman (4-2, 3-0 Northwest Central Conference) held off a late rally by Riverside (4-2, 2-1 NWCC) Friday night, as Jared Rourke intercepted a pass late to cement a 35-30 Cavalier victory.
Lehman, which had led 35-18 in the third quarter, jumped to the No. 4 spot in Division VII, Region 28 playoff standings with the win. The Cavaliers travel to Hardin Northern in Week 7.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.