XENIA — It has been a memorable football season for the Milton-Union football team.
And it is not over yet.
The Bulldogs put together a perfect regular season, coach Bret Pearce became the winningest football coach in Bulldogs history with last week’s playoff win over Preble Shawnee.
And Milton-Union has advanced to the regional finals for the third time in school history.
Friday’s night’s convincing 38-6 win over Brookville at Doug Adams Stadium/Veterans Field moves Milton-Union into Friday’s D-V, Region 20 regional final matchup with Valley View at 7 p.m. at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
“We have made a lot of history this season,” Cooper Brown, who caught two touchdown passes in a nearly perfect first half for the Bulldogs said. “But, nothing feels better than this one.”
Milton-Union was in the D-IV regional final game in 2006 and 2012.
“It feels great to get back there,” Pearce said after the win Friday night. “It has been 10 years.”
And it didn’t take long for Milton-Union to set the tone Friday night.
On the game’s third play — despite Blake Brumbaugh appearing to get held on his way to the ball, Brumbaugh made a leaping catch of Nate Morter pass with one hand for a 37-yard gain to the Brookville 18-yard line.
“I would swear there was pass interference on that play,” Morter said. “But, I have two great receivers. They will go up and get the ball. We wanted to jump on them early and we did that. It did (set the tone for the game).”
Two plays later, Jordan Foose broke several tackles on a 15-yard TD run.
Mason Grudich’s kick made it 7-0 with just 2:02 off the game clock and the Bulldogs never looked back.
They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball all night, opening a 38-0 halftime lead.
“There is no doubt we are a line driven team,” Pearce said. “But, I feel like we also have a lot of weapons at the skill positions and we were able to take advantage of that tonight.”
Both sides of the ball worked in sync, with Milton-Union forcing four turnovers in the opening quarter and scoring 24 points off those turnovers.
“We were pretty opportunistic,” Pearce said. “The defense kept getting us the ball and we were able to put points on the board. We got off to a great start.”
Three plays later, Conner Gibson picked off a Brookville pass at the Brookille 41-yard line.
Michael Elam started the drive with runs of eight, 15 and six yards and Brumbaugh would run the ball in from five yards out. Grudich’s kick made it 14-0 with 7:00 left in the opening quarter.
“I have a lot of confidence in my offensive line,” Elam said. “We were really hyped up at the start. We definitely set the tone early.”
After the Bulldogs next drive stalled, following Milton-Union’s only punt of the first half the Bullodgs would get the ball right back.
On Brookville’s second play, there was a collision on the handoff and Milton-Union’s Connor Yates recovered the fumble at the Blue Devil-yard line.
Milton didn’t pick up a first down, but Grudich booted a 37-yard field goal to make it 17-0.
On the final play of the first quarter, Zachary Lovin would intercept a Brookville pass attempt at the Blue Devil 49.
Elam started the drive with a 27-yard run and ended it with a two-yard TD run. Grudich’s kick made it 24-0.
“It was (close to a perfect first half),” Morter said. “Everybody did a heck of a job.”
Milton-Union closed the first half scoring with two TD passes from Morter to Brown.
The first was setup by Ethan Lane’s fumble recovery and Morter threw a perfect strike to Brown down the left sideline from the Brookville 39.
Brown juggled it at the 5-yard line before securing it as he crossed the goal line and Grudich’s kick made it 31-0.
“He (Nate Morter) threw me a perfect ball and I just kind of tipped it to myself,” Brown said.
After a sack by Yates, with help from Carter Berner ended the next Blue Devil drive —Elam had a 24-yard run to the five-yard line and Morter found Brown in the end zone on a curl route from the three-yard line.
The score came with 13 seconds left in the half and put the Bulldogs up 38-0.
The only score in the second half came on a 5-yard TD run by Grady Lamb of Brookville.
It was set up by Tim Davis’ 66-yard run. Davis would finish with 113 yards on 12 carries, accounting for most of the the Blue Devil offense.
Brookville had just seven first downs in the game and 168 total yards.
Morter would complete six of 11 passes on the night for Milton-Union for 116 yards.
Brown caught two for 43 yards and Brumbaugh caught two for 39 yards.
Elam would lead the rushing attack, pounding his way to 108 yards on 19 carries.
Colton Hultgren had 10 tackles, including seven solo tackles.
Ozzie Gregg had seven tackles, including six solo tackles and Berner added six tackles.
“This is great,” Brown said. “But, we have make sure we are ready for next week’s game.”
The Bulldogs, 13-0, handed Valley View, 12-1, its only loss 24-14 win week 2.
And Milton-Union isn’t done yet.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]