The Milton Red Hawks are no longer underdogs.
After giving Monona Grove its first conference loss in two years, Milton moved to 5-0 by defeating Oregon, 47-26, in a Badger South Conference game Friday night at Anderson Field.
“We got a big win up there, held on for dear life,” Milton head coach Rodney Wedig said of the Monona Grove game. “Then tonight it was Homecoming, a wonderful crowd. I think we were a little tight again early, where people were expecting us to win.”
Milton trailed 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, but the Red Hawks rolled the rest of the way.
The Red Hawks’ shaky first quarter was highlighted by junior quarterback Evan Jordahl’s first interception of the year, which led to six Panther points with 8:15 left in the first half.
With a fourth-and-nine at the Oregon 37-yard line and the first-quarter clock dwindling down, Milton dialed up some trickery to get on the board. After receiving the snap, Jordahl pitched the ball back to senior running back Nick Huber, who launched a 37-yard touchdown to senior receiver Dane Nelson, who came down with the ball among three Panther defenders.
“Once it was in the air, I just had to readjust,” Nelson said. “I was getting real nervous watching it fall. I just put my hands out and caught it kind of like an Adam Thielen-style catch.”
“Didn’t go as smoothly as we drew it up, but Dane just made a heck of a move to catch that,” Wedig said.
The score came with 42 seconds left in the first and put Milton up 7-6, but the lead was short-lived. The Panthers returned a kickoff for a touchdown on the next play to go back up, 13-7.
Milton regained the lead in the second quarter with a little bit more magic. On fourth-and-goal at the Oregon 7-yard line, Jordahl bobbled the snap but quickly gathered it, ran to his right and found senior tight end Hunter Pernot for a one-handed touchdown grab.
After the extra point, the Red Hawks led, 14-13, with 8:27 left in the quarter.
The Panthers and Red Hawks traded scores again, with an 8-yard scoring scamper by Milton senior running back Jerry Jones knotting things up at 20-20 with a minute to go until half.
But after the Red Hawks defense forced a three-and-out, Jack Weberpal. Milton took over at the 1-yard line, and Jones scored to make it 27-20.
After halftime, it was more Milton.
Jones scored on another 1-yard run during Milton’s first possession of the second half.
Junior Luke Hessenauer blocked another punt for the Red Hawks, setting up a 1-yard score for senior running back Brady Olson.
“Those [blocked punts] are huge,” Wedig said. “Anytime you can block a punt and flip the field like that, it allows our offense to really grind and eat up the clock.”
Huber got in on the scoring with a two-yard score in the fourth.
“As coach said the whole entire week, they’re [Oregon defense] small, but they are fast,” Nelson said. “But once you hit them, they’ll stop being fast. We just kept grinding it like we have every single game this year.”
Huber rushed for 135 yards on 22 carries, while Jones added 78 yards on 16 carries.
Up next for Milton will be Stoughton (4-1, 3-0) on the road Friday at 7 p.m.
MILTON 47, OREGON 26
Oregon 13 7 0 6—26
Milton 7 20 20 0—47
Scoring: O—Donovan Johnson 36 pass from Erik Victorson (kick failed). M—Dane Nelson 37 pass from Nick Huber (Luke Hessenauer kick). O—Austin Saunders 91 kick return (Mason Grender kick). M—Hunter Pernot 7 pass from Evan Jordahl (Hessenauer kick). O—Matt Kissling 27 run (Grender kick). M—Jerry Jones 3 run (kick failed). M—Jones 1 run (Hessenauer kick). M—Jones 1 run (kick failed). M—Jones 1 run (pass failed). M—Brady Olson 1 run (Pernot pass from Pat Jordahl). O—Teague Szudy 8 run (pass failed).
Statistics: First downs—O 11, M 19. Rushing—O 31-214, M 49-286. Passing yards—O 97, M 128. Passes—O 14-5-0, M 10-8-1. Fumbles—O 0-0, M 1-0. Penalties—O 4-35, M 3-20.