It seemed like it would be smooth sailing for the Wolves in their Oct. 9 home opener under the Friday night lights. Milaca had imposed a strong will and jumped out to a 13-0 lead over visiting Little Falls.
Then the Flyers reeled off 20 unanswered points before kicking a late field goal to down Milaca, 23-21.
The game started exactly how the Wolves had envisioned, stopping Little Falls on its initial drive before marching down the field to score a touchdown on their opening possession. Scoring the touchdown on the ground was senior and 1,000-yard rusher Henry Truebenbach.
Another punt forced by the Milaca defense gave the team the ball back with a 7-0 lead. Mimicking the first drive, the Wolves were able to march down the field with Truebenbach once again punching in the rushing touchdown. After a missed extra point, Milaca had a 13-0 lead after the first quarter.
Head Coach Kevin Armbrust couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game. “We came out of the gate exactly how I thought we wanted,” he said.
With Little Falls stringing together a couple of first downs, the Flyers once again had to punt, giving the ball back to the humming Wolves’ offense.
Little Falls’ defense then saw an opportunity. The Flyers were able to pick off a high pass by Braden Hardy, returning it for a score and just like that, it was a 13-7 game.
The pick-six loomed huge for Little Falls as it gave the visiting team a jolt. “We gave them a touchdown and it got them back in the game,” Armbrust said.
The Flyers used the momentum from the pick-six to propel themselves to a 14-13 lead at half.
Little Falls and Milaca traded possessions in the third quarter but neither could push any points across the board.
Armbrust said the offense was able to move the ball but could not sustain drives to put points on the board. “There were several drives just like that where we would get a couple first downs but that would be it,” he added.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Little Falls was able to build on its lead after a touchdown pass by Austin Neu. That score gave the Flyers a 20-13 lead. Milaca was able to block the PAT.
The Wolves responded to the score and Truebenbach was once again able to find the end zone with his third rushing touchdown of the game. After a successful two-point conversion, Milaca found themselves ahead by a single point at 21-20 with 7:38 left in the contest.
Little Falls was then able to use a long drive to run down the clock, kick a 33-yard field goal and grab the 23-21 lead.
The Wolves were able to pick up a couple key first downs, but saw the drive stall at midfield, turning the ball over on downs and giving the win to Little Falls.
Offensively, Milaca had a monster game on the ground with 324 total yards rushing but it proved to be not enough to secure the win. Truebenbach led with 132 yards rushing.
The Wolves will now go back to the drawing board before heading to Zimmerman to take on the Thunder.
In order to pick up the win, Armbrust will look for Milaca to improve on the performance against the Flyers. “We have to get back to the things we are good at and be even better,” he said.
Milaca will face Zimmerman on Thursday, Oct. 15 due to MEA Break.