Bulldogs break losing streak to overcome Eagles

Thorndale’s Lane Nemtschk leaps to break up a pass to Milano’s Devonte Jones.


Thorndale Sports


The Thorndale Bulldogs broke a nine game losing streak on Friday, as they defeated cross-county rival Milano 40-27 at Bulldog Stadium.  Two forced turnovers by the Thorndale defense in the fourth quarter helped to clinch the come from behind win.

It was the first victory for the Bulldogs since the opening game of the 2015 season against Burton.

Thorndale opened up the scoring with 52 second left in the first quarter on a two yard run by running back Hunter Towery.  It was the first of three times the senior would reach the end zone on the night.  He ran the ball 18 times for 199 yards.  The extra point kick by Mason Fisher was good and the Bulldogs had a 7-0 led.

The Eagles answered quickly, with 11:04 left in the second, Milano quarterback Kyle King ran the ball in from the six for the score.  The conversion run attempt failed, leaving Thorndale with a 7-6 lead.

The Eagles took the lead on their next possession when King found Devonte Jones for a 58 yard scoring pass. Sethe Pugh’s conversion run lifted Milano to a 14-7 lead with 8:06 left in the half.

Thorndale tied things up four minutes later when Towery broke loose for a 17 yard score.  Another Fisher kick tied the game at 14-14.

The Bulldogs took the lead with 1:37 left in the second on a 15 yard scoring pass from Coleby Driver to Scott Guzman. The conversion run failed, but Thorndale was up 20-14.

Milano used up that last 97 seconds to drive down the field and score with no time left on the clock when King found Jones at the goal line from 33 yards out.  Kevin Garcia’s PAT put the Eagles up 21-20 at the break.

It was back and forth for most of the third quarter, but the Bulldogs run game was too much for the Eagle defense. Towery found the end zone from 28 yards out with 3:55 left in the frame.  The conversion run failed, but the Bulldogs took a 26-21 lead.

Milano’s aerial attack struck once more as King and Jones connected for a 34 yard score with 32 seconds left in the third frame.  The conversion pass failed, but the Eagles were up 27-26.

But that lead would not hold, as Thorndale would capitalize on two Milano fumbles in the final frame.  Lane Niemtschk rushed it in from the one with 9:51 left in the ball game.  The conversion run failed, but Thorndale went up for good 32-27.

Milano fumbled the ensuing kickoff at midfield and the Bulldogs took advantage to put the game away.  Chase Cuba was wide open on a 45 yard pass from Driver to score with 6:46 left in the game.  Driver connected with Nathan McDaniel for the conversion play for the 40-27 score.

Thorndale’s offense garnered 431 yards against the Eagle defense—309 on the ground and 122 in the air.  Bulldog quarterback Driver was four of five passing.  Top Thorndale receiver was Scott Guzman with three catches for 77 yards.

Cole Huber had 16 carries for 42 yards, with Guzman adding 37 yards on nine totes.

The Eagles’ offense saw more success in the air than on the ground, with Eagle signal caller King connecting six of 16 passes on the night for 169 yards.  Milano’s rushing game saw just 58 yards on 21 carries.

Jones had hot hands, catching three passes for 125 yards, each one for a touchdown.  King was Milano’s top rusher with 44 yards on 12 carries.

Thorndale did struggle with penalties, tallying 13 flags for 110 yards.

The Bulldogs will get their first road test on Friday night as they travel to face Lexington.  The Eagles are picked to finish second in District 13-3A Division 2 behind Blanco, a regional semifinalist in 2015.

Lexington returns seven starters on either side of the ball, led by linebacker Chase Allert, quarterback Walker Hess and running back Nic Dillon.  The Eagles were 5-6 in 2015 and finished third in district play.  They lost in the first round of the postseason.