Nate Milanowski is a force to be reckoned with for the Pioneers. Photo courtesy of Lou Murray photography
The Regular Season finale at Memorial Field looked like a much better matchup on paper a few weeks ago. But tonight the 2-3 East Grand Rapids Pioneers welcomed the 5-0 Byron Center Bulldogs for the final OK White game of the year. The first place Bulldogs needed a victory over the tied for fifth place Pioneers, and possibly overlooked their week 6 opponent in leu of the Playoffs.
East was coming off a pair of losses to FHC and GR Christian and needed a spark to prepare for another playoff appearance. They found the ignition behind their Sr RB #2 Nate Milanowski. Nate would prove to be the difference for the Pioneers and supplied nearly all of their offense. Coach Casey Longo appeared to say ‘we are going to hand it to Nate until you prove consistently that you can stop him’. If that was the coaches plan, it worked flawlessly. Milanowski would finish the night with 33 rushing attempts for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Although the PAT’s would both fail, the 2yd and 17yd scores would prove to be enough to give the Pioneers the win.
The Bulldogs scored on their first drive of the game. It seemed they were able to move the ball at will against the Pioneer defense. The penalty on the PAT allowed the Dogs to score a two point conversion, giving them the early 8-0 lead. East would narrow the margin to just 2 points as they had a PAT blocked. The scoring would be done for the first half, but not for the game. Milanowski would score in the second half bit the two point conversion failed giving the Pioneers a 5 point margin. A lead that would prove to be enough fot the East team to hold on for the victory.
The win give the Pioneers a final conference record of 3-3, but also provides momentum for the 2nd season. Who, When, and Where they play will be announced on Sunday. For the Bulldogs, They fall to 5-1 in the OK White and now share the conference title with the Rangers of FHC.