Spaulding leads Milton over Kettle Moraine
But when lightening can strike from any direction, just as Milton High’s football team did here Tuesday night in a WIAA Division 2 first-round playoff game, even the thunder of a Kettle Moraine team from the Classic Eight Conference can be silenced.
The Red Hawks struck at the Lasers from all over Anderson Field in a 46-21 victory.
As a result, Milton (8-2) will face DeForest (9-1) in a second-round game Saturday.
DeForest was a 14-6 winner over Elkhorn, which shared the Southern Lakes Conference title with Milton.
Milton senior running back Justin Spaulding put on an electrifying performance, scoring five touchdowns and rolling up 292 yards from scrimmage.
Spaulding’s effort more than nullified the thunderous play of Laser running back Jared Hassin, a bruising 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior, who carried 33 times for 229 yards behind Kettle Moraine’s huge offensive line.
“Justin is a one-man wreaking crew when he gets the ball,” said Milton coach Jeff Bachinski, whose teams are 6-0 against Classic Eight opponents the past three seasons. “When you give him the ball, he won’t go down, and he has one thing on his mind—and that’s to get into the end zone.”
Spaulding, who finished with 182 yards rushing on 13 carries, had help from speedster teammate Hank McIvor, who intercepted two passes, returning one for a 74-yard touchdown to put the game away in the fourth period. McIvor also scored on a 34-yard run.
The defensive play of the game, however, was turned in by Milton linebacker Ethan Bachinski, while the Lasers were driving with the ball and holding a 21-18 lead on their first possession of the third period.
Playing with a hurt shoulder and taped ankle, Bachinski picked off a Mike Butterfield pass at the Kettle Moraine 25 and returned to the Laser 43. Eight plays later, Spaulding kept the ball on a fake reverse, cut up field and scored untouched to give the Red Hawks a 25-21 lead.
It was a lead that would get nothing but bigger for the Red Hawks.
On the Lasers’ next possession, McIvor ended the drive with a leaping interception at the Milton 25. On the third play of the fourth period, Spaulding took the ball on a delay, scooted up the middle and to the outside and ran past the Laser defense for a 66-yard touchdown.
McIvor then picked off Butterfield again, kept his feet and returned the ball 74 yards for a game-clinching touchdown.
As much as Milton flashed its lightning in the second half, however, Kettle Moraine clapped its thunder in the first.
On the Lasers’ first possession, Hassin rumbled 58 yards to cap an 88-yard drive.
But the Red Hawks answered immediately when, from his 27, quarterback Zach Fry bought himself just enough time in the pocket to find Spaulding down the right side line at about the Milton 45. Spaulding posted a 73-yard touchdown run.
Despite all the take-aways Milton had in the second half, Kettle Moraine coach Mike Fink thought the impromptu play of Fry and Spaulding was his team’s downfall.
“We talked all week about not letting your guy go no matter what because Fry will find him,” Fink said. “We had to make some stops on defense, and we didn’t. At that time we had momentum, we were controlling the ball and then we gave up the big play early.”
Fry threw only eight times but completed seven passes for 133 yards.
Neither team could stop the other through much of the first half. On Kettle Moraine’s next possession, Butterfield scrambled for a 24-yard touchdown and a 14-6 Laser lead. Spaulding answered with a 15-yard scoring run that was set up by Nick Karleski’s 45-yard scamper on a counter play.
Spaulding then took control of things by quashing Kettle Moraine’s next drive with an interception in the end zone. With runs of 48 and 13 yards, Spaulding then scored from the one to give Milton an 18-14 lead as the Red Hawks failed to convert three extra-point attempts.
The Lasers controlled the ball for the final 14 plays of the first half, taking a 21-18 lead just 25 seconds before halftime.
It wasn’t until Ethan Bachinski’s big play that the Red Hawks began to take control.
“I’m just absolutely numb about what these kids did in the second half,” Jeff Bachinski said. “We didn’t change too much at halftime. We just wore them down. Our strength and conditioning just wore them out.”
And then the Red Hawks struck with their lightning.
MILTON 46, KETTLE MORAINE 21
Kettle Moraine 14 7 0 0—21
Milton 12 6 7 21—46
Scoring summary: KM—Jared Hassin, 58 run (David Scherman kick). M—Justin Spaulding, 73 pass from Zach Fry (point failed). KM—Mike Butterfield, 24 run (Scherman kick). M—Spaulding, 15 run (point failed). M—Spaulding, 1 run (point failed). KM—Hassin, 2 run (Scherman kick). M—Spaulding, 18 run (Kyle Ledger kick). M—Spaulding, 66 run (Ledger kick). M—Hank McIvor, 74 pass interception (Ledger kick). M—McIvor, 34 run (Ledger kick).
Statistics: First downs—KM 24, M 15. Rushing—KM 53-337, M 26-287. Yards passing—KM 95, M 133. Passes—KM 28-12-5, M 8-7-0. Fumbles—KM 0-0, M 0-0. Penalties—KM 3-25, M 8-53.