Bulldogs 2017 season kicks off against Milano

Lane Niemtschk cuts up field on a kick off return during the Sept. 1 game with Milano.







Champion Sports


In 2016 Thorndale defeated Milano in the season opener, this year the Eagles returned the favor, winning over the Bulldogs 47-28 in both teams’ season opener at Pruett Field.

Milano (1-0) took a 28-14 lead into halftime, but the Bulldogs (0-1) were able to tie things up in the third.  With the game knotted at 28-28 going into the fourth quarter, the Eagles put three unanswered scores on the board and ran away with the win.

Thorndale head coach Scott Hawkins said despite the loss, the Bulldogs played well.

“Well, of course, we would have loved to come away with a win, but sometimes you get outplayed and out executed,” Coach Hawkins said.  “We did see some things that we were pleased with on both sides of the ball. Our run game at times was very successful—358 yards rushing on the evening.  We need to work on our pass protection and some basics—blocking and tackling.  We need to play each play individually and focus on the play at hand.” 

Milano opened up the scoring when Kyle King found Devonte Jones for a 35 yard touchdown pass with 7:49 left in the first quarter.  Kevin Garcia’s point after kick was good.  The Eagles then tacked on another touchdown at the 5:26 mark on a 64 yard pass from King to Timothy Demeritt.  Garcia’s PAT put Milano up 14-0.

Thorndale answered back with 4:25 left in the opening quarter on a 20 yard run by Jagger Rubio.  Mason Fisher’s PAT cut the Eagles’ lead in half.

Milano put up two big scores in the first half of the second quarter as well.  King and Jones connected for a 61 yard touchdown (Garcia’s kick was good).

Christian Thurman then picked off a Coleby Driver pass and ran it back 56 yards for a touchdown.  Another Garcia kick made it a 28-7 Milano lead with 8:19 left in the first half.

Luke Leschber kept the Bulldogs in the game with a 68 yard touchdown run.  Fisher’s kick made it a 28-14 ball game with 7:57 left in the second half.

The Bulldogs made some adjustments during the break and were able to tie things up in the third frame.  Scott Guzman scrambled for a 20 yard touchdown with 7:01 left in the quarter and Fisher’s PAT cut the deficit to 28-21.

The Bulldog defense forced Milano to turn it over on downs and got the ball back at their own 34 with 4:35 left in the third.  With 1:58 left in the quarter Leschber punched it in from the one, and another Fisher kick tied the game at 28-28.

The Eagles found a new rhythm in the fourth quarter and put up three unanswered scores.

Thurman and King connected for a four yard touchdown reception at 11:56 and with another Garcia kick, Milano went up 35-28.

Ronnie Messer broke loose for a 41 yard touchdown run with 6:26 left in the game.  The extra point kick missed, but the Eagles had extended their lead to 41-28.

The last score was another Thurman-King hook up for seven yards with 3:27 left in the game. The conversion run failed.

Thorndale did not have any passing yards on the night in five attempts, but ate up rushing yards with 358 against Milano.  Leschber led the charge with 154 yards on 22 carries.  Rubio added 89 yards on 15 touches and Guzman collected 69 yards on 10 carries.  Ashton Albert put up 59 yards on three touches.

Milano tallied 412 yards of total offense on the night.  Eagles’ senior quarterback King completed eight of 18 pass attempts for 207 yards on the night.  He was also Milano’s leading rusher as well with 90 yards on eight carries.  Kathan Funburg tallied 62 yards on 10 rushes and Messer had 59 on five carries.

The Eagles’ top receiver was Jones with 116 yards collected on three catches and Demeritt had 80 yards on his three catches.  Thurman’s two scoring receptions totaled 11 yards.

Defensively, Guzman led the Bulldog defense with nine tackles, followed by Mason Fisher with eight.  Ethan Booker racked up five and Albert collected four.  Lane Niemtschk and Logan Fisher recorded three tackles each, with Colt Cauble, Corey Preusse and Rubio gathering two each.

John Luman, Ashton Schaefer and Evan Ivy all had one tackle in the game against Milano.

The Bulldogs will host Class 3A-II No. 5 Lexington on Friday night at Bulldog Stadium in Thorndale’s 2017 home opener.