MILLEDGEVILLE – Floyd Daub Field felt like a stock market floor for the first half of a 1A first-round playoff game between the host Milledgeville Missiles and Fulton Steamers.
The teams traded scores on quite a few occasions and had varying advantages in what seemed to be a shootout by halftime. However, once the Missiles invested more on their tough defense that they had shown throughout the regular season, it was enough to hold off the Steamers in a 56-22 win.
“I thought it was going to keep going back and forth,” Missiles senior running back Carson Boyer said. “We just ended up getting a couple of stops on defense and came away with it.”
For the second straight game, the Missiles (10-0) scored on their first play from scrimmage. Boyer ran 63 yards after 21 seconds of play for a 6-0 lead. Max Lemke called his own number on the Steamers’ next run for a 12-yard score and an 8-6 lead after Ethan Rash’s 2-point conversion.
The trading continued as Cayde Gusloff had a 1-yard run for the Missiles with 5:20 left in the first quarter for a 12-8 lead, which was answered on the next series by Rash’s 13-yard TD completion from Lemke for a 15-12 Steamers lead after Eathan Long’s PAT.
Boyer then answered with a 59-yard score with 2:49 left in the first. Then Nick McQuiston hauled in a 24-yard pass from Lemke for the initial second-quarter score and a 22-18 Steamers lead.
“All of a sudden you look up, and there’s still 8:22 on the scoreboard,” Steamers coach Patrick Lower said. “I’m like, ‘That can’t be right.’
“I really liked our game plan. I thought we could move the ball, and we did. After the first half, we really couldn’t do much, and it was a little frustrating.”
After 16:55 of play, the first turnover on downs came on an incomplete fourth-down pass from the Missiles in the end zone. Although the Missiles were the first team to break on offense after plenty of bending by the defenses, the Steamers also failed to convert on their next possession and punted the ball away.
Boyer scored his third touchdown on the next series with 5:06 to go in the half for a 26-22 lead after converting the 2-point play.
“Fulton did a real nice job on offense, keeping us off-balance and making some plays, and we eventually just turned it on and started playing,” Missiles coach Jason Wroble said. “We just kept rolling from there and got the momentum at halftime.”
The Missiles cruised through the second half, trying to milk as much clock as possible. Boyer scored for the fourth time with 6:22 to go in the third quarter.
Lemke was sacked four times – twice by Connor Woodin, while Corey Anderson assisted on the other two with Gusloff and Mason McKenna. The Missiles tallied eight tackles for loss; Jack Munz led with three.