LENA – It would have been easy for the Milledgeville Missiles to let their heads hang low trailing by 41 points Saturday.
Instead, they chose to have a little fun in their second-round playoff game against Lena-Winslow.
Nate Rahn took a handoff on a counter play and found daylight. Instead of scoring his second touchdown, Rahn pitched the ball to QB Jack Munz near the end zone, and both juniors trotted past the goal line as a capper to the Missiles’ 49-16 loss.
“There’s really no reason to pitch it, but it’s fun,” Munz said.
“Coach [Gary] Hartje, the old mastermind, in his days with the semifinal 2008 team did that,” Rahn said. “We’ve practiced that since sixth grade and have never had the chance to do it. That was pretty cool.”
Rahn got the Missiles (8-3) on the board with an 8-yard TD run with 4:23 left in the third quarter, while Carson Boyer ran in the 2-point conversion.
What wasn’t fun for Milledgeville was the first half. Lena-Winslow (11-0) showed why it is the No. 1-ranked team in 1A with 43 first-half points. Two of the Panthers’ six touchdowns in the half came on receptions by tight end Isaiah Bruce as the Missiles sold out to try to stop Le-Win’s vaunted rushing attack.
The most enjoyable moment for the 6-foot-3, 240-pound sophomore came when he completed a pancake block to help Eli Lingle find the end zone on a 55-yard interception touchdown.
“The pancake was more fun,” Bruce said. “I just like helping out wherever I can.”
Rahveon Valentine started the scoring with a 67-yard TD sprint after Le-Win forced a turnover on downs. Fullback Sean Ormiston scored on a pair of touchdown runs, and Gaige Schwartz scored on a 42-yard burst to end the first-half scoring.
Schwartz led Le-Win with 10 carries for 149 yards and completed the Panthers’ day of scoring with a 17-yard scamper with 5 minutes gone in the second half.
Class 1A playoffs
Lena-Winslow 49, Milledgeville 16
Star of the game: Gaige Schwartz, Lena-Winslow, 10 rushes, 149 yards, 2 TDs
He said it: “Our losses were all quality. Le-Win could win a state championship and is a heavy favorite, and Aquin and Stockton are great programs. Two of those teams are in the quarterfinals.” – Milledgeville head coach Jason Wroble.
Up next: 1A quarterfinal - Lena-Winslow at Aquin, TBA