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Posted on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 11 p.m.

Robert Kanitz returns from injury, lightning delay, to lead Milan to win over Ypsilanti Community

By MLive Media Group


Milan backup quarterback Steve Phifer stepped in for an injured Robert Kanitz against Ypsilanti Community on Friday, August 30, but Kanitz returned to finish the game on Saturday, August 31.

Patrick Record |

by Ryan Loren

Milan quarterback Robert Kanitz returned to the field one day after exiting against Ypsilanti with a leg injury before the game was postponed by lightning, and led the Big Reds to a 13-6 victory Saturday at Ypsilanti Community High School.

Kanitz previously had left on the first play of the game and was replaced by backup Steven Phifer, who immediately connected on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Devin Miller. Ypsilanti responded on their next possession, but failed to complete the free kick that would have tied the game.

More coverage: Boxscore | Friday night story: Inclement weather puts first ever Ypsilanti Community game on hold with Milan up 7-6

Milan returned Saturday with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter and Kanitz back under center. Kanitz secured the victory in the fourth, leading a scoring drive capped by 16-yard pass to Miller.

“Kanitz coming back and playing today after the shot he took in the knee and head yesterday was pretty remarkable,” Milan coach Jesse Hoskins said. “[Kanitz] is a returning all-state kid, not just some random quarterback, so it was a pretty shocking thing. Phifer stepped in and did an admirable job. He made some mistakes but he really did a nice job filling in.”

Kanitz finished 4-for-8 for 42 yards and a touchdown, while Phifer went 2-for-4 for 12 yards and a touchdown.


Milan quarterback Robert Kanitz, on knees, had to leave the game on Friday, but returned Saturday to lead Milan to a 13-6 win.

Patrick Record |

The Grizzlies aggressively pushed the envelope from the start — finishing Friday night with 140 penalty yards —but returned Saturday hoping to find their composure.

“We wanted to eliminate some of our mistakes, which we did, but we just didn’t execute on our plays,” Ypsilanti coach Rufus Pipkins said. “Some of their offensive fronts we didn't adjust to and we were caught sleeping.”

Ypsilanti’s physical play resulted in two more casualties for the Big Reds, who lost one player to a shoulder injury while another absorbed a potentially season-ending concussion.

“It was just a fiasco at Ypsilanti. It was unorganized and dirty,” Hoskins said. “There were tons of penalties, and tons of helmet to helmet contact. I told my team that I've been involved with a lot of football and this was probably the biggest victory I've been a part of. The guys were challenged and they showed their true character.”

Pipkins refuted the notion that either team played rougher than the other.

“For the first week, you're not used to a lot of the hitting,” he said. “It was definitely a physical contest. We were physical, they were physical. We delivered a lot of hits, and we took some. It was a physical brand of football.”

Milan (1-0) travels to Riverview (1-0) on Friday, and Ypsilanti (0-1) travels to Saline (1-0).

More Saturday results

Whitmore Lake 32, Stockbridge 22

Nine hours after their game was called delayed due to lightning, the Whitmore Lake and Stockbride football teams returned to the field on Saturday. The Trojans scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to give Todd Pennycuff a win in his coaching-debut for the Trojans. (Story | Boxscore)


Catherine Wright

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

It is so frustrating to continuously see bias against Ypsilanti. It's always been that way. I was at the game, do you know how many face masks were pulled by Milan players? How much discipline does that show of your players Coach Hoskins? Is that ok for your players to do and yet you call our players dirty? I think it was one of the best games I've seen. Refs have always called against Ypsi teams. I see it in football and basketball every year. Last year one of our girls got body slammed in a basketball game and the ref called her for traveling. Stop whining. It's football, it gets rough.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 10:57 a.m. how many penalties did Milan have? Was any (unbiased) reporter at the game? Was it really a "dirty" Ypsi team? This is an incomplete story.

Alex Brown

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

This coverage on Coach Hoskin's thoughts was a little sanitized compared to what the Monroe Evening News ran.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

I remember back in the day competing against the Big Reds when they were in S.E.C. they were always tough to compete against no matter what sport it was. I can definitely see Milan being a contender if they were back in the S.E.C where they belong!!!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Stop the whining Milan. Both teams played hard and both teams hit hard.

Catherine Wright

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

I was at the game and both teams played hard. No one played dirty. Grrrrr! Go Grizzlies!

Alex Brown

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

There is a very big difference between playing hard/hitting hard and playing dirty.