They sent it out in style as they outlasted the Jackson-Milton Blue Jays, 26-14, in a Division VII second-round playoff matchup.
The Blue Devils were paced by Dom Schadl, who finished with a game most would dream of — 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
“Everything was open offensively,” Schadl said. “The line played great all night. The holes were insane. I think anyone could have run through those holes and scored.”
Schadl set off fireworks on the first play from scrimmage as he took the ball to the right 62 yards to pay dirt to give the Blue Devils (6-1) a 7-0 lead just 11 seconds into the game.
“The first play of the game was a deflater,” Jackson-Milton coach Nathan Brode said. “Anytime the opposing team scores right away after getting a team all hyped up, it’s tough to rebound from. We did that though. We were able to tie it up at halftime.”
The Blue Jays (4-3) did hang tough with time-consuming drives. They couldn’t muster any points until they fell behind by two scores after Schadl’s second touchdown run of 7 yards made it 14-0 with 8:23 left in the half.
“We didn’t have the ball a lot in the first half,” McDonald coach Dan Williams said. “We were limited on plays. They were really taking the air out of the ball with some of the drives they had. They were gaining up, so Schadl couldn’t hit the edges. Though we were able to get him up the middle.”
Jackson-MIlton got on the board on their third drive of the game, which was capped off by Frankie Prozy’s 7-yard run with 2:45 to make it 14-6 after the two-point try failed.
After a McDonald punt, the Blue Jays marched 47 yards in 1:10 to tie it up at 14 following a Prozy 2-yard run.
“That was a tough, hard-fought game between two schools,” Brode said. “There were some hard hits. Our kids played really well. That’s a great program at McDonald. It’s been years since we’ve beat them. We felt good though, being tied 14-14 at the half. We just couldn’t sustain drives long enough to put up points.”
That momentum swung to start the second half when the Blue Jays went from their own 33 to the McDonald 19.
Prozy had been taking big hits all night from the McDonald defense and had to go out a play. When he went out, the Blue Jays ran a draw that was fumbled and recovered by Kaden Crown.
“That was a big swing in the game,” Williams said. “Kaden ended up being in the right spot at the right time and got that fumble. We really changed the momentum at that point. They were driving the ball on us there. That was a big swing.”
The Blue Devils scored on the very next play as Schadl ran it in from 81 yards out to make it 20-14 with 7:52 left in the third.
The ensuing Jackson-Milton drive stalled at midfield.
“Our defense played more physical in the second half,” Williams said. “Take away a couple of penalties, and I think we really stalemate them in the second half.”
The Blue Devils finished their scoring on the ensuing possession with Schadl’s 23-yard run finishing off the Blue Jays with 10:17 left in the third.
Jackson-Milton got it to the McDonald 28-yard line, but as was the case most of the night, the Blue Jays couldn’t complete their drives as they turned the ball over on downs with 5:57 left in regulation.
Sean Lengyel led the Blue Jays with 51 yards rushing, but he got dinged up and didn’t play in the second half. Prozy added 45 yards on the ground and 95 through the air.
“We have to tackle better,” Williams said. “We were over amped up. We were over-running tackles. We’ll fix that. Their quarterback is a hell of a runner. Lengyel got dinged and banged up, which worked to our advantage. The kid’s a hell of a runner too. I thought they were going to do what they did do, which was run it right at us.”