Tribe hands Lions opening-night loss

MILAN – The Rushville Lions fell behind on the first play on Friday against the Milan Indians. The hosts opened the contest by returning the opening kickoff to paydirt and adding an extra point to go up 7-0. The Lions’ first possession resulted in a turnover on downs and Milan marched back down the field to score on a 10-yard run. Rushville was down 14-0 midway through the first quarter, but they pieced together a drive getting the near midfield before another turnover on downs halted the offense.  

RCHS battled back to knot the game at 20 late in regulation. However, the Rushville defense had a late hiccup in the final frame and the Indians scored to retake the lead and earn the opening night win, 27-20.      

The second quarter started with the Indians threatening in the red zone. Two plays later a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Austin Green, his second of the contest, put Rushville down 20-0. After a missed extra point attempt, and a good kick return by senior Chase Woolf, the Lions were able to get their offense going. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Nick Jarman pitched the ball to junior Ralph Eakins, who took the sweep outside and scored on a 69-yard touchdown. A missed extra point made the score 20-6.


The Rushville defense was able to stop Milan on the next possession with Mike Rohr getting a tackle in the backfield and Keegan Bowles breaking up a fourth down pass in the end zone. The Lions regained possession and on their first play Jarman unloaded a pass over 40 yards downfield connecting with Brayden Wilson. Wilson took the catch and ran another 30 yards, scoring the second touchdown of the quarter and in the game for the Lions. A missed extra point put the score at Milan 20, Rushville 12. That score stood until the half. 

The third stanza was a defensive battle with both squads pitching a shutout. Lions’ head coach Isaac Sliger was impressed with his defense in the second half: “We dug ourselves in a hole early but stepped up and the defense played well. We had some guys really stand out with Eakins totaling 17 tackles. Drew McKee, Mo Manghelli, and Kemper Seitz each contributed on defense.” 


The final quarter saw the Lions get on the board again when Jarman connected with Eakins for a 46-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion tied the game up at 20-20. Milan scored the final points of the contest and won 27-20.

The Lions’ offense picked up 158 yards on the ground with Jarman’s 16 yards. Eakins gained 93 yards on five carries and had a rushing score. Sophomores Quinn Barada and Sam Pavey rushed for 28 and 21 yards, respectively. The receiving corps was led by Wilson who hauled in two catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Eakins had a 46-yard score on his lone reception and Bowles caught one pass for four yards. 

The defense was led in tackles by Eakins with 17, followed by McKee 9, Manghelli and Seitz 8, Woolf 7, Rohr 6, Trey Newman 6, Pavey 5, Adrian Apodaca 5 and Bowles 4. Senior Landon Browning finished with two tackles and a sack in the contest. 

Rushville will be on the road again this Friday when they travel down Highway 44 to face the Shelbyville Golden Bears. Shelbyville picked up a win in week one, beating an EAIC team with a 39-14 win over Greensburg. The Lions pulled out a 41-39 win last season over Shelbyville, stopping what was an 11-game losing streak to the Bears that dated back to 2001.  

Coach Sliger is far from negative about the outcome of game one. He stated “The positive part of Friday is that it was mostly all self-inflicted. We can correct a lot of those things on our own, keep the grit and fight we had down the stretch, and find a way to start faster. Teams take the largest jumps from Week 1 to Week 2. Similar to this time last year. We now have to find out how to win on the road. That has not happened in this program since 2018 for a varsity team win on the road. So, it is taking the bits we learned last year and what we have taken from Friday, and finding ways to piece together a complete game that gets us a win on Friday on the road.” 


1st Quarter  

Milan 11:46 Kick Return, XP good 7-0 

Milan 6:29 10-yard rushing touchdown, XP good 14-0 

2nd Quarter 

Milan 11:12 27-yard rushing touchdown, XP no good 20-0 

Rushville 10:51 69-yard rushing touchdown, XP no good 20-6 

Rushville 4:33 74-yard passing touchdown, XP no good 20-12 

3rd Quarter 

4th Quarter 

Rushville 2:20 46-yard passing touchdown, 2-point conversion 20-20   

Milan 0:58 5-yard rushing touchdown, XP good 27-20  

Rushville Total Yards 294 (Passing 136, Rushing 158) 

Milan Total Yards 281 (Passing 26, Rushing 255) 

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