It was a bittersweet homecoming for Walnut Springs Saturday as a strong passing game by the visiting Milford Bulldogs helped defeat the Hornets 52-14 in non-league play.
Milford’s 148 passing yards to Walnut Springs’ 73 told much of the story of the stats. The Hornets’ Dylan Cooke completed seven of 15 attempts for 66 yards, while Ryan Engelhardt completed two out of two attempts for seven yards.
The Bulldogs also dominated in rushing with 191 yards by Jacobe Essary, Dez Buckaloo and Jairus Russell. Walnut Springs’ Cooke, Dillon Rose, Austin Rose, Engelhardt and Mike Garcia combined for a total 149 yards rushing.
Milford scored first with a 20-yard pass, but the kick was no good, a trend that continued throughout the evening. The next first-quarter touchdown on a three-yard run and the extra point put Milford ahead, 13-0.
Engelhardt made the first touchdown for the Hornets, but the kick for the extra point was blocked.
In the second quarter, Milford broadened its lead, returning a 35-yard punt. But the extra point kick again failed. Next Milford made good on a four-yard pass with only 37 seconds left. Again, the extra-point kick failed.
A Milford safety with 17 seconds left on the clock brought the score to 27-6 at half-time.
The Hornets tried to rally in the third quarter with a touchdown by Cooke after a five-yard run. Jed Espinoza hit the extra point. Walnut still trailed 27-14.
A 17-yard pass by Milford led to another touchdown and another failed kick. At the end of the third quarter, Milford held a wide lead of 33-14.
The Hornets’ opponent dominated the fourth quarter with a 68-yard run that led to a touchdown. The kick failed. Next Milford racked up another touchdown and PAT, then sealed its decisive victory with a final touchdown from a 25-yard pass, but still no extra point conversion.
Engelhardt made three receptions, while Adan Galindo received two and Adolfo Morales, Stormy Vara, Austin Rose and Mike Garcia nabbed one each.
Milford’s defense made it tough for Walnut, with 48 tackles to Walnut’s 13. Cooke and Austin Rose led Walnut with three tackles each, two for Engelhardt and Garcia and one each for Dillon Rose, Jeremiah Essix ad Jordan Noyola.
The Hornets will face Covington Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in their first conference game.