After Blooming Grove recovered an onside kick and used a long, sustained drive to take a second-half lead over Mildred, it looked like it was over. Mildred’s streak, its dominance over its cross county rival was on the ropes.
Faced with their backs against the wall, the Eagles answered. In a big way.
Mildred scored the final four touchdowns in a 40-19 win over Blooming Grove in a game that looked an epic battle for the ages for most of three quarters. But when the dust settled, and the mosquitoes finally eased up at Asby Field, the Eagles claimed a ninth straight victory in the series, which they now lead 22-21 all-time.
Mildred moved to 3-1, 1-0 in District 6-2A DII. The Lions fell to 2-2, 0-1.
The game was downright ugly for the first 12 minutes. They traded turnovers, missed a field and punted a combined five times in the first quarter. Mildred finally scored early in the second when Draylon Sterling scored on an 8-yard sweep to end a 10-play, 72-yard drive that featured a bad snap and 14-yard loss and 6-yard completion on fourth-and-4 from Will Burnham to Mikey Muncy.
Sterling, eventually, would find the end zone a second, third, fourth and fifth time, but not before a lot of great football in between.
Blooming Grove needed only one play to answer, as Tyler Morris went 68 yards to make it 7-7, and Sterling took a screen 35 yards to paydirt with 8:30 left in the half, and it was 13-7 at the break despite 16 yards rushing on 15 carries for the Eagles. Blooming Grove, meanwhile, had 129 rushing yards at the half.
Then the intensity spiked some more.
Blooming Grove took the opening second half kick and started chewing up yardage with Morris and Travis Whiteside, who covered the final 18 yards to make it 13-13 less than two minutes into the second half.
The Lions then easily recovered an onside kick as Jared Obenour had nothing but white jerseys around him when he plucked the football out of the air. They fashioned a 12-play drive, featuring two 22-yard Tyler Ellis-to-Brandon Hays completions — the second overcoming a chop block mark off — to take their first lead, 19-13, on a 6-yard run from Morris.
At that point, Blooming Grove owned the momentum.
Sterling, who had 19 yards on nine first half carries, then went 33 on his first second half carry. His third went for 17. After a 15-yard penalty on the Lions, Burnham found Muncy for 7 yards to tie the game.
And Blooming Grove’s offense went silent, as the Lions picked up only eight yards on their next three drives.
Mildred responded, putting three straight scoring drives together, getting touchdown runs of 13, 14 and 40 yards from Sterling, the last with 9:33 to go in the fourth.
Morris led Blooming Grove with 156 yards. He had 100 on seven carries at the half.
Mildred 40, Blooming Grove 19
Bl. Grove 0 7 12 0 — 19
Mildred 0 13 13 14 — 40
M — Draylon Sterling 8 run (Devin O’Sullivan kick), 10:14
BG — Tyler Morris 68 run (Tyler Ellis kick), 9:49
M — Sterling 35 pass from Will Burnham (kick failed), 8:30
BG — Travis Whiteside 18 run (kick failed), 10:22
BG — Morris 6 run (kick failed), 5:35
M — Mikey Muncy 7 pass from Burnham (kick failed), 4:32
M — Sterling 13 run (O’Sullivan kick), 1:32
M — Sterling 14 run (O’Sullivan kick), 11:19
M — Sterling 40 run (O’Sullivan kick), 9:33
First downs 16 20
Rush-yards 49-237 32-183
Passing yards 97 206
C-A-I 11-20-1 11-22-1
Fumbles-lost 4-1 2-0
Punts-avg. 7-29 2-68
Penalties-yards 8-84 6-45
Rushing —BG: Travis Whiteside 11-58, Tyler Morris 20-156, Tyler Ellis 13-5, Daniel Camarillo 2-6, Brandon Hays 3-12. M: Draylon Sterling 20-157, Russell Holden 3-23, Mikey Muncy 1-2, Will Burnham 4-17, Joey Palos 1-5, Team 3-(-21).
Passing —BG: Ellis 11-20-1-97. M: Burnham 11-22-1-206.
Receiving —BG: Whiteside 1-6, Hays 7-72, Morris 2-11, Jared Obenour 1-8. M: Muncy 4-38, Sterling 4-101, Holden 2-48, Xavier Fuqua 1-15.