It was only fitting that the skies opened and greeted fans at Milton-Union High School’s Memorial Stadium with a steady downpour to start Friday night’s football game.
Two old-fashioned styles with much to gain slogging it out in the mud on one of the few remaining natural grass fields in the area seemed only appropriate.
“This is the definition of football,” said mud-covered Krue Thwaits of Milton-Union after rushing for 99 yards on 15 carries. “There is nothing better than a mud game.”
Thwaits, who had been bottled up for most of the night, broke around the left end for the game-winning 64-yard run with 2:46 remaining in a 13-10 Bulldog win over Madison.
“I had told them in the huddle right before that play that I was bound to break one soon,” Thwaits said. “I just took it and got a couple good blocks and got outside.”
The win moves Milton-Union to 3-0 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division and 5-1 overall. Madison, the defending champ, falls to 4-2, 1-1. The win was also huge as both teams search for a spot in the postseason. Both teams entered play in the top eight in their respective regions.
“They were the defending league champs and we knocked them off,” Milton-Union coach Mark Lane said after being covered in mud during the celebration. “Our guys kept coming after them and they weren’t going to let anything keep them from getting the win.”
Madison had one more shot at driving down the field for at least a tying field goal, but four consecutive incompletions later, the Bulldogs were ready for the victory formation.
“I didn’t think it would end 10-7,” Madison coach Steve Poff said. “Coach Lane is a tough guy and they made a lot of big plays.”
Milton finished with 209 yards of offense, while Madison slogged its way to 127. The Mohawks never crossed midfield in the second half.
Madison led 10-7 at halftime thanks to a 90-yard kickoff return by Ryan Friend on the last play of the first quarter after Milton’s Zac Shields made a diving catch in the end zone on a desperation heave by Zach Vagedes as he was getting hit.
Madison capitalized on the first Bulldog mistake to take a 3-0 lead on its second possession of the game, but could not convert after Milton had punting issues.
The Mohawks took over on the Bulldog 12, but ended up with a fourth-and-28 from the 30.
“Penalties and our own mistakes,” Poff said. “We’ve got to eliminate those things because right now, we are our own worst enemy.”
Next Friday, Madison will be at home against Carlisle, while Milton visits Brookville.
MA: Logan Alward 37 field goal
MU: Zac Shields 5 pass from Zach Vagedes (Brandon Austin kick)
MA: Ryan Friend 90 kickoff return (Alward kick)
MU: Krue Thwaits 64 run (Kick failed)