Wolverines send Seniors out with a win in 3OT
Week 9 for the Wolverines set up a great treat for the fans as although the Wolverines were not going to playoffs, a potential send-off for the Seniors on Senior Night along with the possibility of winning their third game of the season and besting their record of 2-7 last year helped motivate the Wolverine Nation in cheering on a great finish to the 2018 campaign - and the game did not disappoint.
The Wolverines came into play 2-7 with 2 conference wins. The Spartans of Brentwood came into play just under .500 at 4-5 after being eliminated from playoffs last week. Neither team wanted to go home early as not regulation, not one overtime, and not even two overtimes was enough to find a winner in this one - three, yes count them, three overtimes were needed to finish the last game of the regular season for the Wolverines - and the Wolverines did not disappoint at the final whistle.
The first half involved very little production from both teams, as the Wolverines scored first in quarter 2 when Ryan Gibbons ran in from 1 yard out capping off a 6 play, 32 yard drive. The PAT attempt by Colin Smith was no good as the Wolverines took a 6-0 lead.
Just as the Wolverine faithful thought they would take a lead into the haftime festivities, a missed FG by the Wolverines set up shop for the Spartans at their own 20 yard line where only 3 plays took the ball from the 20 to the 10 yard line of the Wolverines. QB John Milcic took the snap and ran the ball into the endzone to tie the score at 6 with just over one minute before halftime. The PAT attempt by Edward Gomez was good on the first attempt. However, false start was called against the Spartans pushing the ball back an extra five yards. The second attempt by Gomez was short of the post, as the penalty kept the score 6-6 heading into halftime.
Both teams had a rough time moving the ball in the first half, with the only big play being a 53 yard pass on the scoring drive for the Spartans. Both teams combined for only 7 first downs and just under 200 total yards of offense. The one standout stat for the game was penalties - at halftime the Wolverines accounted for just 2 penalties while the Spartans accounted for 6. But the total of 8 penalties in the first half would be outshined by the total penalties in the second half where the teams added 17 more penalties combined.
By the start of the second half, the football field was torn up, muddy, and became a factor to the finish of the game. Both teams were grounded as running the ball became the number one goal for field position. The Spartans would fill the box with nine players while the Wolverines would blitz in pass coverage while on defense. Both teams were held to under 50 yards of offense until two scoring drives, one by each team, finally patted the stats on offense.
The second score for the Wolverines occurred in quarter 3 as punt returner Brady Welsh took a line drive punt off of QB and punter Milcic at the Wolverines 41 yard line and returned the punt down the left side all the way to the endzone for the 59 yard punt return TD. The 2 point attempt by Rick Pitrelli was good as the Wolverines took a 14-6 lead to the fourth quarter.
The second score for the Spartans came late in the game at the 4:36 mark as for only the second time on the night, the Wolverines secondary was beat for a huge gain - a 63 yard pass by Milcic to WR Jayneil Latham was hauled in and ran into the endzone making the score 14-12 EC. The Spartans knew they had to go for two and they decided to go with the wow factor used by the Eagles in Super Bowl 52 as a hand off by Milcic to the running back was then handed off to WR Andrew Wilson as Wilson then passed off the ball to Milcic in the endzone for the 2 point conversion, making the score 14-14 at the end of the regulation.
Overtime rules have both teams spotting the ball at the 10 yard line where they are given four downs (unless a penalty occurs) to try and score. After the first two overtimes, both teams will then have to attempt 2 point conversions after a touchdown. Whoever scores the most points during the overtime period, wins. But as we said, this took an extra hour to decide.
The Wolverines loss the coin toss as they had to go on offense first. WR Brady Welsh took a direct snap on the third play of the drive and ran in from 5 yards out to give the Wolverines the lead 20-14. For only the third time on the year, the PAT attempt by Colin Smith was no good. The Spartans were up next.
The Spartans took very little time to answer back as 2 plays later, QB Milcic ran the ball into the endzone, making the score 20-20. The PAT attempt by Gomez was missed as the game headed to a second overtime.
Since overtime one had the Wolverines take the ball first, the Spartans this time started the overtime. With very little resistance on the first play, QB Milcic added his third rushing TD on the night as he scampered in 10 yards out to make the score 26-20 Spartans. The PAT attempt again by Gomez was no good, keeping the score 26-20. The Wolverines then took their chance at the win, as it took four plays to get into the endzone as RB Pitrelli pushed the pile into the endzone, tying the game at 26. The PAT attempt by Smith was no good as the kickers on the night combined for 6 PAT misses. So, the game headed to a third overtime.
The Wolverines had the ball first in overtime three as Brady Welsh took another direct snap and ran into the endzone for his second rushing touchdown on the night, giving the Wolverines a quick third overtime lead of 32-26. Since it was the third overtime, both teams had to attempt a 2 point conversion if they scored a touchdown. The Wolverines followed up the touchdown score with the exact same play with WR Welsh under snap, running the 2 point conversion into the endzone making the score 34-26 in favor of the Wolverines.
The Spartans had their attempt at pushing the game to a fourth overtime. The first play was read by the interior defense of the Wolverines holding the Spartans for no gain. Second down for the Spartans had QB Milcic trying to throw into the endzone, but was well defended by DB Keshawn Gatto knocking the ball down. Third down for the Spartans was actually ran twice as a false start by a wide receiver caused the ball to be moved back to the 15 yard line. A second pass by Milcic was incomplete as the Spartans decided to take their final timeout knowing they had one play to get the ball into the endzone.
The Spartans QB Milcic took the snap after the timeout, rolled to his left, and then came back to the middle of the pass protection and threw a dart across the middle of the endzone. LB Rick Pitrelli spied on the quarterback and was able to read the play, picking off the pass in the endzone and then sliding into the field of play, knowing that the game was over. The Wolverines came away victorious in their second overtime game of the season, this one going to three overtimes with a 34-26 3OT victory.
Although the stats by both teams were not pretty - a combined 25 penalties (16 by Brentwood) and a combined 7 turnovers (6 by Brentwood) - the teams were able to score without much resistance in the overtimes. Leaders for the Wolverines were RB Donavin Chambers who finished with 111 yards rushing to end the season with 799 yards rushing and on defense LB Rick Pitrelli who finished with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception to end the season with 66 tackles and 6 turnovers on defense.
The Wolverines send off the seniors on Senior Night with the victory, finishing the season with a 3-7 (2-5) record, improving from last year’s 2-7 record. The Wolverines will now rest up and watch the playoffs from home, but will enjoy the long wait to the annual Football Banquet as they finished the 2018 campaign with a hard fought, crazy, and muddy win. Good luck to all seniors competing in other sports for the rest of the year and good luck to the rest of their senior year!
You can catch all the replay action on our Youtube page (link below) along with all the stats from the season (link below). Check back in throughout the week as we will have the Monday night pairings released and matchups, along with our W-Zone Playoff predictions on Thursday, and finally a 2018 Season in Review for football on Friday. Until next week, Go Blue!