“I’ve been a little beat up this year, but it’s nothing we’ve really needed to worry about because me on the field or not, we’re going to get the job done,” Svarda said. “I think I’m finally getting healthy again. It’s time to turn me loose.”
He ran 13 times for 81 yards and was admittedly around 70 percent heading into the game because of his shoulder’s uncertainty.
“I was a little scared,” Svarda admitted. “But once I took a few hits and realized I was feeling all right, it started building up. I’ll really be ready to go next week.”
The Mohawks, ranked second in this week’s Associated Press D-V state poll, racked up 312 yards on the ground and had a whopping 460-95 overall advantage in yards against the Bulldogs.
Madison is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division. The Mohawks were state semifinalists in 2017.
“Milton-Union’s going to go out and win a bunch of games this year. I believe that,” Madison coach Steve Poff said. “We’ve just got to improve ourselves. You can’t hold people to zero yards, that’s virtually impossible. But we like to think we can try harder.
“I’m real happy with where we’re at as far as the team’s play and their attitude. We knew coming into the year that we had a chance to be really special, and I think they’re graded on a different scale just because of the talent they have. We’re trying to perfect everything they do, which is hard to do in high school football.”
Milton-Union’s Andrew Lambert (23) carries the ball and is pursued by Madison’s Levi McMonigle (35) and Max Evans (38) during Friday night’s game at Memorial Stadium in West Milton. Madison won 34-0. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
Milton-Union (2-3, 1-1) was voted second behind the Mohawks in the SWBL Buckeye preseason coaches poll, but the Bulldogs were short-handed because of injuries and simply appeared to be outmanned in Friday’s matchup.
Connor Gostomsky paced MU with 32 yards on seven carries. He also got tackled in the end zone for a Madison safety.
“They definitely used their size to their advantage tonight,” Bulldogs coach Bret Pearce said. “They’ve got talented kids all over, but it starts with that line. With them having the depth to run different guys on offense and defense and our kids having to go both ways because of our numbers right now, they were fresher. The longer the game went, those big bodies leaning on us kind of took its toll.”
MU had a self-destructive first half, fumbling the ball away twice and getting picked off once. The Bulldogs made an outstanding goal-line stand to keep the visitors out of the end zone late in the first quarter, then got stung by the safety on the next play.
“We needed to not mistakes and get a couple from them, and that’s just not how it happened,” Pearce said. “I love how hard our kids fought, but we did not play a mistake-free game.”
The Mohawks’ Mason Whiteman completed 5-of-10 passes for 148 yards and touchdowns to Evan Crim and Jake Phelps. Whiteman also got picked off by Michael Whitmer and A.J. Lovin.
Phelps added a rushing TD for Madison. Svarda, Phelps, Whiteman, Gabe Higgs, Justin Gray and Crim all had success running the ball, combining to average 6.5 yards per carry.
Poff said getting Svarda back to 100 percent is a point of emphasis.
“He’s a tough kid, but there’s only so much you can do when you’re fighting that pain,” Poff said. “He started making some plays again with his feet, and I was real glad to see that. We wanted to get him some runs and get his confidence back.”
Noah Lehman came up with an interception for the Mohawks, and Cole Pelgen and P.J. Schenck recovered fumbles. It was a 28-0 affair at halftime.
“Milton-Union surprised me a little bit, especially at the start of the game,” Svarda said. “They were very upbeat and came after us. We’re just feeling really comfortable right now. We’re using all these weeks to stay in shape and keep building this thing up.
“We know what our true goal is. We want 10-0. We’re trying to stay healthy and get through at least three quarters of every game with the varsity so we can stay conditioned. We’re preparing for the playoffs.”
Both teams will host homecoming games next Friday. Madison will play Dixie and the Bulldogs will face Waynesville.
MA: Evan Crim 69 pass from Mason Whiteman (Pass failed)
MA: Safety, Milton-Union’s Connor Gostomsky tackled in the end zone
MA: Jake Phelps 7 run (Run failed)
MA: Phelps 23 pass from Whiteman (Phelps run)
MA: Cameron Svarda 19 run (Run failed)
MA: Svarda 5 run (Pass failed)