DeForest runs over Red Hawks
But it was plenty overwhelming.
Bryar Harper rolled up five rushing touchdowns and 250 rushing yards to help the Norskies erase a 14-0 first-half deficit and roll to an impressive 47-21 victory over Milton in a nonconference opener here Friday night.
Harper’s dominating performance was simple, old-fashioned inside, out running.
“Bryar ran really hard for us tonight, and I know he’ll pat the guys up front on their backs tonight,” DeForest coach Mike Minick said. “We just tried to run our stuff and our scheme and felt like we could go inside, out and have some success.
The straightforward plan was too successful in the estimation of Milton coach Jeff Bachinski.
“They didn’t do anything fancy. They just played football, reach right, reach left,” he said of the Norskies. “When that kid (Harper) cuts back (he’s impressive) and is a tremendous running back.”
DeForest’s running attack overshadowed the inexperienced Red Hawks impressive first-half start.
On fourth play of the game, Milton quarterback Evan Phillips hit Riley Kovars on a wide-receiver bubble screen that turned into a 73-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline. That made it 7-0 in favor of the Red Hawks.
Milton’s short passing game yielded 238 first-half yards through the air against a talented Norskie defense.
“They blocked very well on the edges,” Minick said of the Red Hawks. “Their receivers did a great job of blocking our guys and tying them up.”
Milton’s defense followed suit with a touchdown of its own.
Defensive back Mitchell Bachinski made it 14-0 late in the first half when he scooped up a Harper fumble at the Norskies’ 8 and walked into the end zone.
But Harper quickly made amends for his fumble with consecutive touchdown runs of 35 and 16 yards that cut the deficit to 14-13 with 7:37 left in the first half.
After Milton answered with a Phillips’ 6-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Sam McCann, Harper struck again around tackle for a 64-yard touchdown run. That made it 21-20 in favor of the Red Hawks.
The back-and-forth battle finally was diluted by the Norskies, who added a Kyler Jilot 1-yard touchdown run late in the first half to give DeForest a 27-21 halftime lead.
It was all DeForest from there as Harper delivered two more touchdown runs of 55 and 4 yards to break the game open, 47-21, in the second half.
“This has to be a learning experience for all of us,” Bachinski said. “We had overthrown passes with guys wide open. Give us a few of those scores early, and maybe it might have been a different situation in the ball game. We’re home next Friday night, so hopefully we’ll regroup.”
DeFOREST 47, MILTON 21
Milton 14 7 0 0—21
DeForest 6 21 13 7—47
Scoring summary: M—Riley Kovars, 73 pass from Evan Phillips (Sam McCann kick). M—Mitchell Bachinski, 8 fumble recovery (McCann kick). D—Bryar Harper, 35 run (kick failed). D—Harper, 16 run (Jordan Blied kick). M—McCann, 6 pass from Phillips (McCann kick). D—Harper, 64 run (Blied kick). D—Kyler Jilot, 1 run (Blied kick). D—Harper, 55 run (Blied kick). D—Taylor Mack, 24 pass from Jilot (kick failed). D—Harper, 4 run (Blied kick).
Statistics: First downs—M 11, D 18. Rushing—M 17-0, D 43-286. Yards passing—M 295, D 113. Passes—M 39-25-3, D 9-6-0. Fumbles—M 0, D 5-3. Penalties—M 3-20, D 8 -57.