by Jeremy Benson, GrandRiverConference.com
Milan Coach Mark Cole was returning to his alma mater and former team for the first time as an opposing coach since he left Maysville. But nostalgia was not the only thing that was important in this game for Milan and Maysville. Coming into the game, both teams were 4-4 overall and 3-3 in GRC. The winner would finish the season with a winning record and finish in the upper half of the conference. Additionally, both were fighting for district standings. Most likely the #3 spot in districts was on the line. At a minimum, the winner was expected to be at home next week with the loser playing a road game. Therefore, the importance of this game could not be understated.
As close as this game was on paper, it ended up to be that way on the scoreboard. Milan won a hard fought 34-26 game. Milan started the game with good field position at the Maysville 45-yard line after an Alex Marquina 35-yard kickoff return. After Ahmet Niasse connected with Jeremy Bennett for a 32-yard pass down the sideline to put the Wildcats on the 1-yard line, Niasse ran the ball in from the 1. Christian Chaparro's PAT was blocked. Milan was up 6-0.
Maysville got the ball back, and it was the Kaleb Jestes show. Jestes ran the ball on the first 5 plays moving the ball from their own 30-yard line to the Milan 21. Kris Gabbard would complete the drive with QB keeper from 1-yard out to tie it up at 6. Jestes had 53 yards on the drive.
Milan would get another TD early in the 2nd quarter when Niasse hit Greyson Smith from 9 yards on a fade pattern. Milan led 12-6 after the 2-pt failed. On Milan's next posession, Niasse fumbled and Konner Watkins returned the fumble 35 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 12.
Niasse would redeem on the next play when he ran for 80 yards for a touchdown to put Milan up 19-12. But the redemption would not last long when Niasse would fumble again. This time, Garrett Bray would be the one to return the fumble for a touchdown, this time from 20 yards out. Maysville would go up 20-19 after the 2-pt conversion by Gabbard.
Milan would end the scoring with 34 seconds left in the half when Chaparro connected in a 33-yard field goal to go up 22-20.
Maysville took the opening kick of the 2nd half, but fumbled. Milan would immediately capitalize on the second play when Carlos Cotto scored from 41 yards out. Milan was up 28-20 after the PAT was missed. After a 3 and out by Maysville, Milan would score again when Niasse would run it in from 7 yards. Another Missed PAT would make it 34-20 Milan.
Maysville would not go away. They drove 80 yards (helped by two 15 yard Milan penalties). Kris Gabbard scored from a yard out. After the 2-pt failed, Milan led 34-26.
Maysville would threaten late in the game. A Spencer Pliley run got the Wolverines down to the Milan 32-yard line with about 4 minutes left. But the next two plays were bad snaps, and Maysville lost 17 yards. They were not able to overcome 3rd and 27. Milan took over with 2 minutes left and was able to get 2 first downs and run out the clock, winning 34-26.
I talked with both coaches after the game.
Here is video of Maysville's player introductions:
Ahmet Niasse, 4-7, 90 yards, 1 TD
Ahmet Niasse, 166 yards, 3 TD
Carlos Cotto, 110 yards, 1 TD
Jeremy Bennett, 55 yards
Greyson Smith, 35 yards
Total Yards 366, Rushing 276 yards, Receiving 90 yards
Kris Gabbard, 3-8, 18 yards
Kaleb Jestes, 1-1, 15 yards
Kaleb Jestes, 109 yards
Spencer Pliley, 61 yards
Kris Gabbard, -22 yards, 2 TD
Dillon Willis, 15 yards
Kaleb Jestes, 10 yards
Kobyn Metzger, 8 yards
Konnor Watkins, TD - Fumble Return
Garrett Bray, TD - Fumble Return
Total Yards 181, Rushing 148 yards, Receiving 33 yards
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