Hammon, Kovars propel Red Hawks
The Milton High standouts each ran and threw for touchdowns to carry the Red Hawks past Westosha Central, 52-14, in the first round of the WIAA Division 2 football playoffs.
Hammon and Kovars each missed last week's final regular-season game due to concussions, but showed no ill effects as the Red Hawks jumped out to a 32-6 halftime lead and cruised to the lopsided victory over Central (6-4).
However, another type of headache awaits as Milton earns a showdown with defending state champion and third-ranked Waunkee (10-0), which defeated Beaver Dam, 35-0, Tuesday. Waunakee will host the Red Hawks (7-3) in a second-round game Saturday.
"We played them before and had them against the wall, but we had way too many penalties," Hammon said of the 63-21 loss in the second game of the season. "It will be a good game."
One thing that is certain, Milton will come in on a roll, winning its last five games and rolling past the visiting Falcons.
After reaching the Westosha 4-yard line on the opening possession, a Red Hawks fumble ended the drive. But two plays later, Brady Nelson ripped the ball from quarterback Adam Damaschke and scored from nine yards out to start the rout.
From there, Milton went on to score touchdowns in its next five possessions to put the game out of reach.
"We knew we could run the ball, and our receivers made a lot of great catches," Hammon said. "Our line also blocked really well, and they are coming together now."
Hammon started the onslaught after another Westosha fumble with a 4-yard scramble around the right end. Kovars then put the game out of reach with a 64-yard double reverse pass to Anthony Davis to push the Milton lead to 19-0, just 11 seconds into the second quarter.
Hammon completed 17 of 25 passes for 222 yards, which included touchdown passes of 4, 15 and 41 yards. The senior also ran for two touchdowns and finished with 74 yards rushing on 12 carries. Kovars added four catches for 71 yards to go along with his touchdown pass.
Phillip McCarthy added five receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
"It was nice to have Nate and Riley back," Milton coach Jeff Bachinski said. "They got their feet back underneath them."
Now the real test comes Saturday.
"We are going to come in there guns-a-blazing," Bachinski said of the match-up with Waunakee. "We are going to get after them. They have a great team, but we are going to play hard."
MILTON 52, WESTOSHA 14
Westosha Central 0 6 8 0ó14
Milton 12 20 14 6ó52
Scoring summary: MóBrady Nelson, 9 fumble return (kick failed). MóNate Hammon, 4 run (kick failed). MóAnthony Davis, 64 pass from Riley Kovars (Kyle Martinelli kick). MóHammon, 1 run (kick failed). WCóAustin Damaschke, 8 run (kick failed). MóPhillip McCarthy, 4 pass from Hammon (Martinelli kick). WCóJared Zirbel, pass from Damascke (Jason Castona kick). MóKovars, 15 pass from Hammon (Martinelli kick). MóSam McCann, 41 pass from Hammon (Martinelli kick). MóJosh Kummer, 4 run (kick failed).
Statistics: First downsóWC 8, M 27. RushingóWC 30-75, M 49-234. Passing yardsóWC 168, M 286. PassesóWC 18-8-2, M 27-18-0. FumblesóWC 2-2, M 2-2. PenaltiesóWC 7-45, M 8-55.