CHARLOTTESVILLE — After lightning forced Eastern Hancock and Milan to postpone completion of their contest from Friday to Saturday, it was clear that whoever came out with renewed concentration a day later would have a leg up on the other squad.
The visiting Indians answered the call, while the host Royals were slow out of the gates. And despite a spirited third-quarter comeback, EH fell to Milan 30-19.
Up 7-6 at the beginning of the second quarter when play resumed, the Indians needed just three plays to score, beginning at the EH 30, to go up 14-6. The visitors would add a field goal and pitched a second-quarter shutout, giving way to a 17-6 halftime advantage for Milan.
“They came out ready to play and we didn’t. They jumped on us,” EH coach Pat Echeverria said. “We got on the kids pretty good in the locker room, came out in the third quarter and played pretty good football.”
After a pick-six gave the Indians a 23-6 lead, the Royals engineered a pair of third-quarter touchdown drives.
EH got things going by inserting tailback Spencer Gilbert at QB and running the ball effectively. Eventually, Derrik Noel would be on the receiving end of an 18-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback Logan Splater.
After Cooper Henderson recovered a well-executed onside kick, the Royals drove down the field and netted another touchdown. Again, the points came by way of the Splater-to-Noel connection, this time from the Indian 11. The score was Noel’s third of the game.
However, the Milan defense stiffened and kept EH off the scoreboard the rest of the game.
“I don’t know if we ran out of gas from coming back, but we had some opportunities and made a couple mistakes,” Echeverria explained. “They scored one more time and that was pretty much it.”
EH’s first-quarter touchdown was the result of a seven-play, 74-yard drive off the opening kickoff that culminated with a nine-yard touchdown run by Noel.
After an hour and 10-minute lightning delay Friday night, the teams agreed to recommence play Saturday at 6 p.m.
The defeat was the Royals’ second in a row and dropped them to 2-2 on the year and 1-2 in the Mid-Indiana Football Conference. The Indians improved to 3-1 in their first MIFC contest of 2012.
Eastern Hancock now turns its attention to rival Knightstown, who will play host Friday night and stands 3-1 on the year.
Notes: Gilbert finished with 81 yards on 18 carries and added 10 tackles. … Splater passed for 113 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. … Knightstown beat EH 20-14 in 2011. … Starting EH middle linebacker Kenny Delph suffered a broken left leg against Milan.
Eastern Hancock 30, Milan 19
MI (3-1, 1-0 MIFC) 7 10 6 7 — 30
EH (2-2, 1-2 MIFC) 6 0 13 0 — 19
Passing yards 113
Rushing: Gilbert 18-81, Splater 7-12, Henderson 5-20, Noel 2-13 (EH)
Passing: Splater 7-16-113 (EH)
Receiving: Gilbert 2-14, Henderson 3-61, Noel 2-29, Korlowicz 1-9 (EH)