MILTON—It took the Red Hawks three tries, but Milton’s home crowd finally got something to celebrate Friday night.
Quinn Williams ran for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Aiden Schoen threw for 184 yards and a score, and Milton’s special teams outplayed Beaver Dam’s in the Red Hawks’ 33-30 Homecoming win over the Golden Beavers.
Milton (2-3 overall, 2-1 Badger Large) dropped its home opener against Janesville Parker in Week 2 and lost by a point to Oregon in Week 3, falling to 0-3 on the season. It picked up its first win of the season the next week on the road at Sun Prairie West and followed that up with Friday’s victory.
“It’s amazing,” said quarterback Aiden Schoen. “For us to have the season we had with two heartbreaking games at home, winning this game was just amazing.”
Friday’s game was a back-and-forth affair. Milton opened with a 13-play touchdown drive capped off by a trick play, a 10-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Noah McLaughlin to Brogan McIntyre.
Beaver Dam (0-5, 0-3) answered back on its first possession with a touchdown rush from running back Camron Mendoza, the first of five he would score on the night. The Golden Beavers intercepted Schoen on Milton’s next drive after a receiver slipped on the play and capitalized with another Mendoza touchdown to take a 12-7 lead. The Beaver Dam back finished the game with 230 rushing yards on 36 carries.
Williams and the Red Hawks responded with his first rushing touchdown of the night on the next drive. He and Mendoza each scored again before Milton took a 22-18 lead into the halftime break.
The Beavers struck first in the second half when Mendoza scored for the third time. Three plays later, Schoen connected with Garrett Bladl on a 73-yard touchdown pass, and the Red Hawks tacked on a two-point conversion for a 30-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Milton’s Haidan Hilt ended Beaver Dam’s next possession with an interception. The Red Hawks went three and out and punted, but the Golden Beavers’ returner muffed the kick and Milton pounced on it. The Red Hawks added to their lead with a field goal.
Mendoza scored one more time for the visitors, but Milton ran out the clock after a failed onside kick attempt.
Beaver Dam’s Mendoza looked like an unstoppable force after the first half of play as he scored three touchdowns and amassed 150 yards, but in the second half, Milton’s defense was firing on all cylinders, allowing only two touchdowns and forcing two turnovers.
“Coach McCarty and coach Knutson just made a lot of good adjustments and we tweaked some personnel to take away what they were doing,” Milton coach Rodney Wedig said. “I thought that really helped. Haidan Hill’s big pick that set us up for that field position was also great.”
Milton’s special teams unit also played a key role in the game. The Red Hawks constantly pressured Beaver Dam’s field goal unit, and the Golden Beavers failed to convert any extra points in five attempts. Milton, meanwhile, converted every point-after try, scored a two-pointer and kicked a field goal.
“It’s a funny thing because of the Oregon game we lost in overtime,” Wedig said. “There’s always options and everything we tried backfired. Tonight, we decided to go for two and to get that field goal. The special teams and that punt recovery was a big turning point.”
Bladl led the team in receiving yards with 114 and added a touchdown of his own.
Milton’s next game is at Portage on Friday.
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