MILTON

Rodney Wedig had a couple big questions going into Friday’s preseason football scrimmage.

How would Milton’s new-look spread offense fare against players in different-colored uniforms? And would the Red Hawks continue their smooth transition to a base 3-4 defense?

Wedig got the answers he was looking for ahead of next week’s season opener.

“I thought we executed pretty well,” he said following the roughly two and a half hour scrimmage that brought Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, New Berlin West and Milwaukee King to Milton’s Anderson Field. “I saw a lot of good things.”

With junior quarterback Evan Jordahl piloting Milton’s offense, the Red Hawks moved the ball at will against their last two opponents. Against Parker, Jordahl threw three touchdown passes in the first six minutes of the Red Hawks’ 15-minute offensive session.

Milton scored on all four of its drives against New Berlin West. Its first two possessions ended with rushing touchdowns—one each by senior running backs Jerry Jones and Nick Huber.

Dane Nelson out-jumped a defender in the end zone to haul in a 30-yard pass from Jordahl, putting a highlight-reel finish on the Red Hawks’ third drive. And Jordahl rolled to his left to find tight end Kai Kerl for a 5-yard score.

“I liked the consistency with which we moved the ball,” Wedig said. “When you’re able to run a straight dive and get 5 yards, that means the offensive line is moving people and we’re running hard.”

Milton’s defense also had its share of highlights.

The Red Hawks closed their first session against Janesville Craig by picking off a pass from Eric Hughes and then stuffing three straight plays inside the 5-yard line.

Later, safety Jordan Stivarius intercepted two passes against New Berlin West. Against Janesville Parker, Milton allowed one touchdown in 15 minutes.

“Defensively, I was really impressed,” Wedig said. “I’ve been preaching to play fast and physical. We were very physical, which is one of the things we preached all summer.”

The Red Hawks open the season Friday on the road against Baraboo.

Here are some more takeaways from Friday’s scrimmage:

Turnovers limit Craig’s offense

Craig’s option offense moved the ball well at times but had several drives cut short by turnovers.

Against New Berlin West, the Cougars fumbled twice inside the 10-yard line. The second came as the result of a high snap on fourth-and-goal at the 4.

“We put a few balls on the ground,” Craig coach Adam Bunderson said. “We had a lot of fumbles today and obviously (when) you get in an actual game where possession changes, you can’t do that.”

Quarterback Hughes plowed into the end zone from the 1, following his fullback across the goal line, to cap Craig’s second drive against New Berlin West.

On the next series, running back Kyle Wynn found daylight after cutting back left for a 20-yard score.

With only three offensive starters and four defensive starters back from the team that went 6-4 in 2018, the Cougars remain a work in progress.

“Everything,” Bunderson answered when asked what he would like to see improve before Friday’s opener against Beloit Memorial at Monterey Stadium.

O’Leary looks for Ramirez

Parker quarterback Sam O’Leary spread the ball around but seemed to have a connection with 5-foot-2 receiver Ian Ramirez. With the Vikings facing first-and-goal at the 5 during their second drive against Milwaukee King, Ramirez, a junior, lined up slot left and got open at the goal line, but O’Leary’s pass was too low.

A false start moved Parker back to the 10 and then King blew up a run for no gain. On third down, O’Leary missed Ramirez low again. But on the next play, Ramirez reeled in a pass through traffic for the touchdown.

Ramirez’s elusiveness was on display earlier in the drive. He made a pair of catches for first downs and was tough to bring down one-on-one.

The Vikings travel to Verona on Friday for their season opener.

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