Momentum shocker ends NY Mills football season
The New York Mills Eagles got off to a quick start at home versus Pillager in the final game of the season but a quick momentum change led to a 36-14 loss to end the Eagles' season.
"We lost a tough game tonight. We came out and put together a great drive to score to go up 7-0 only to see Pillager come back with a kick return to take the momentum back," Head Coach Matt Radniecki said.
Tanner Wegscheid, returning at quarterback after missing nearly three games with a broken nose, scored from three yards out. A Brandon Kupfer extra point kick gave the Eagles an early 7-0 lead with 6:10 remaining in the first quarter.
The lead would last 13 seconds.
Quarterback and kick returner Jordan Hunstad took the Eagle kickoff and rambled untouched 85 yards to the end zone.
Hunstad would score a two-point conversion scrambling to the end zone after the initial play was busted at the line.
"If we don't give up that kick return the momentum would have stayed on our side."
Pillager would hold the lead the remainder of the game and add to it on a 29-yard pass from Hunstad to speedy running back Sean Nokken giving Pillager a 14-7 lead.
Eagle captain Ty Bell had a big first half defensively with multiple tackles behind the line. A Charlie Peeters interception set up the Eagle offense with a chance to regain momentum late in the first half. The Pillager defense forced a Spencer Imsande fumble after catching a pass from Wegscheid.
The Huskies would fail to capitalize on the turnover with two incomplete passes in the end zone from the ten-yard line in the waning seconds of the half.
"We continued to play well in the first half. You have to give them credit. They are a big play team and they made the plays in the first half and second half."
Pillager stretched the lead to 28-7 before another Wegscheid touchdown, this time from five yards out, with 4:16 remaining in the game.
"I was proud of how we came back and we had chances but just couldn't quite convert. The kids tried and worked hard but we just couldn't get over the hump so to say."
Being the odd team out in the nine-team section left the Eagles out of the playoffs seeing their season end at the hand of the Huskies, as it did last season.
"I am extremely proud of this team and our group of seniors. We finished the year 1-7 but we were competitive and laid a foundation for future years for our football program."
The underclassmen had seasons worthy of hope for the future in NY Mills.
The junior varsity and freshmen team finished the year with a winning record of 5-3.
"These kids had a very successful season and we look forward to continued success in the future."
The JV won their last game of the season 45-0 over Pillager.
The eighth-grade team had a strong finish ending the season with four straight wins.
"Now the challenge is to get stronger and better in the off-season and have continued success next year."