GCA football drops home opener to Milan

Greenwood Christian’s football program is still in its infancy, playing its first full regular-season schedule and not yet eligible for postseason play.

The Cougars’ schedule thus far has included winnable games, and others where the opposition showed how much more established it was. Friday’s foe proved to be the latter.

Milan entered play 2-2 but had played all Class 2A and 3A opponents in its first four games. The Class A Indians dominated offensively and made stops when it needed defensively, torching the host Cougars for 496 yards on the way to a 49-6 victory.

GCA (2-3), playing its home opener at Center Grove North Middle School, compiled 242 yards of its own but only scored on Nathan Goins’ 51-yard second-quarter touchdown run. The Cougars’ second possession of the game featured a 17-play, 59-yard drive that ate up 7:43 — but it stalled at the Indians’ 14-yard line and ended with a missed field-goal attempt.

“We want to play good, quality opponents week in and week out,” GCA coach Andre Dobson said. “We have to grow, and we have to grow fast. We have a goal to be in the state title game in four years, and this is a big step.”

The Cougars’ other strong scoring threat came on their second possession of the second half. They moved the ball from their own 24-yard line to the Milan 24 on just four plays, thanks to a 32-yard Zach Haynes reception and a 24-yard Evan McIntire catch, but fumbled a snap on the fifth play and the Indians recovered.

Milan scored a touchdown four plays later, a 59-yard Mason Green run, to extend the lead to 35-6 and effectively put the game out of reach.

Trey Dobson ran for 73 yards and threw for another 121 for 194 all-purpose yards for GCA. McIntire was his favorite target, catching four passes for 61 yards.

While the GCA defense struggled most of the night, it managed a couple of big plays. Luke Chitty registered a sack of Milan quarterback Wyatt Marsh late in the first half, and Will Simons recovered a Milan fumble three plays later that helped the Cougars keep the score to a respectable 19-6 at halftime.

Milan’s ground game did the most damage, piling up 443 yards. All seven of the Indians’ touchdowns came on runs, including second-half touchdowns of 60, 59 and 27 yards.

“We have a lot of things that we need to fix,” Coach Dobson said. “I’m a perfectionist, and we want to execute at a much higher level than we’re executing right now. Guys are learning, and that’s all I can ask of them — keep learning and continue to get better.”

GCA hosts North Central (Farmersburg) next Friday.