Tears filled Sammy Wilkerson’s eyes as he sat slumped on a table in the corner of Edinburgh’s locker room after the Lancers’ home game Friday against Milan.
Coach Bill Unsworth tried to console the senior quarterback, who left everything he had on Edinburgh’s muddy field on Senior Night. Wilkerson led the Lancers with 74 rushing yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough against the visiting Indians. Milan ran for 278 yards and outlasted two late Edinburgh drives to win 21-6 in the steady rain.
Despite the outcome, Unsworth said he was proud of the effort against the Indians, who beat the Lancers 49-7 a year ago.
“I thought everybody played hard,” Unsworth said. “Milan’s built for this kind of game. They’re a bunch of big, strong, physical kids, and we don’t match up with them that well. But our kids laid it out. A couple of plays on defense and a couple of plays on offense, and it’s a different ball game.”
Edinburgh’s defense allowed zero passing yards for Milan quarterback Gavin Detraz, but the junior gouged the Lancers for two long rushing touchdowns and 64 total yards.
Junior running back Brandon Beard led the Indians with 104 rushing yards and a touchdown, and senior running back Scott Pennington carried the ball 22 times for 83 yards.
Milan (5-3) set the tone on the ground in its opening possession against Edinburgh (4-4) as Pennington took the first four carries to across midfield.
Detraz kept the ball on the next snap and broke to the left sideline for a 46-yard score to put the Indians up 7-0.
Edinburgh couldn’t get much traction in the mud on its first three possessions and traded punts with Milan.
But the Indians regained momentum in the second quarter when Detraz kept the ball again for a 43-yard run down the right sideline to the end zone at the 7:12 mark.
Edinburgh answered on its ensuing possession with a 10-play, 62-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Wilkerson. The Lancers trailed 14-6 at halftime.
Offense slowed for both teams until midway through the third quarter. That’s when Milan put together a six-play, 60-yard drive that lasted just under three minutes and ended with a 4-yard score by Beard.
Down 21-6 with 7:30 remaining in the game, senior Lancers Trevor Armel recovered an Indians fumble on Milan’s 31-yard line.
Edinburgh took the ball down to the 2-yard line before turning it over on downs.
Unsworth said the tough performance would help prepare Edinburgh for the postseason. The Lancers close out regular-season play next week at Eastern Hancock.
“We played a quality opponent with a really good record tonight, and we played them toe-to-toe,” Unsworth said. “We hung in there with them, so we ought to have confidence going into next week and into the sectional.”