high school football: Milan moves one win away from undefeated regular season with victory over Carleton Airport
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
The Milan High School football team took one more step toward its undefeated regular season Friday night, and it was a forceful one.
The Big Reds jumped out to a three-touchdown lead by halftime and topped Carleton Airport, 41-0.
With the win, Milan takes its first outright Huron League title since joining the league in 2000.
It also improved to 8-0 on the year, and will go for its first undefeated season since 1997 next week at Lincoln.
The Big Reds gained more than 500 yards of offense -- they scored on six of eight drives, with the other two coming at the end of the first and second halves.
They also earned their first shutout of the year on defense. Milan had given up one touchdown in two other wins this year.
“It was a big point of emphasis that when some reserves get in that they hold the rope, they do their job and tonight we got the shutout," Milan coach Jesse Hoskins said.
Milan opened with a 16-play, 80 yard drive that took up more than seven minutes on the clock. It ended with a 13-yard pass from Justin Aceves to Austin Hoover.
After the Big Reds defense forced a three-and out, Milan went 58 yards on five yards, capped by a 19-yard Arthur Dukes rushing touchdown.
Milan ran for 172 yards in the first half alone, and Aceves threw for 94 yards.
He finished the game with a season-high 180 yards on 11-for-15 passing with two touchdowns.
“Justin’s been sharp all year," Hoskins said. "He’s a very efficient passer.”
His favorite target was Smith, who caught seven passes for 122 yards and a score.
On the ground, Dukes saw his streak of three straight 200-yard games come to an end, finishing with 115, but only because his teammates stepped up. Robert Kanitz ran for 146 yards and two scores, and Torrin Collier ran for 60 yards.
Aceves said players backing each other up has been the biggest part of Milan's success this season -- their motto is "hold the rope."
“It’s simple," Aceves said. "Hard work, and holding the rope.”
Milan's Charles Duffiney recorded an interception on the third play of the second half, and Milan drove 71 yards for a score -- a 25-yard touchdown pass from Aceves to Devin Miller.
The Big Reds increased their lead late in the third when Kanitz ran the ball in from one yard out, and again on a touchdown from Dylan Brant with seven minutes left.
Milan will go for its unbeaten regular season against one of its classic opponents in Lincoln. The two teams haven't met since 2006, but before that met every year for three decades as Southeastern Conference rivals.
“Lincoln is such a great old school rivalry, and I think the community is going to be very excited about it," Hoskins said.