The implications loomed large heading into the key gridiron contest between Milaca and Foley. The winner would receive a home playoff game in Section 5AAA.
The Wolves were able to use that pressure to get off to a hot start on a cold night in Milaca, keeping the Falcons at arm’s length on the way to a 28-14 victory Nov. 12. The win earned the Wolves a bye in Section play. Second-seeded Milaca will host the winner of Foley and Patrick Henry High School.
Head Coach Kevin Armbrust wanted the team to forge a hot start and get rolling. The Wolves were able to do just that, jumping out to a 20-0 lead. “We were able to establish the run game from the very first play and that was important for us and our confidence,” Armbrust said.
The Wolves’ ground attack first got on the board thanks to a 3-yard run by Braden Hardy on the quarterback keeper giving a 6-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
A pair of Henry Truebenbach rushing scores got the lead to 20-0 just midway through the second quarter and the Wolves’ had the hot start they had been looking for.
What led to Milaca’s 20-0 advantage was execution of what the team works on everyday according to Jack Olson. “We were just driving our plays. We were doing what we do every day in practice and just executing, just like Coach Armbrust tells us,” said the senior.
Foley would add a touchdown just before halftime to make the game 20-6 at the break.
Into the second half, Milaca was able to do exactly what it wanted as they ran the ball, draining the clock each possession while limiting Foley’s offense. An Aiden Mikla score and Hardy run for the two-point conversion put the game at 28-6 entering the final frame.
The Falcons would score via a touchdown pass early in the fourth to make the game 28-14 but the Wolves defense wouldn’t allow another point on the way to the victory.
Mikla was happy with the way the line played on both sides of the ball. “Defensively, they played pretty good and offensively we were banged up a little bit but we still made a good push,” he said. The Wolves were able to rush for 323 yards while holding Foley to 97.
Truebenbach had 188 yards while Mikla had 105 yards respectively. Milaca averaged seven yards per rushing attempt.
The Wolves now sit at 3-3 and have won two straight while Foley drops to 2-4.
As section play begins on Nov. 21 for Milaca, the team found itself hitting their stride similar to last year. Olson said ending on the same note was big for the team’s momentum. “It’s huge, last year we went 13 quarters scoreless. Last game was scoreless and this game had a couple scoreless quarters. Ending last year and this year similar helps us tremendously,” said Olson. The Wolves ended last season on a three-game winning streak.
As the opponent remains yet to be determined, Armbrust already knows what the team must do to have the chance to advance to the Section Final as it has been the same all year for Milaca. “Scoring first again will be critical and take advantage of that window of opportunity. We have to take advantage of that,” said Armbrust.
On the other side of the bracket, Annandale received the No. one seed in the section and will face the winner of Pine City and Spectrum.
Milaca will play the winner of Foley/Patrick Henry on Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. at Claffy Field.