Football: Thunder start fast, humble Milaca 55-14

Cory Jopp of the Thunder sacked Milaca quarterback Brian Kiel early in the first quarter. Jeremy Sloneker (53) trailed the play. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Boy, that didn’t take long.

The Zimmerman Thunder opened their game against Milaca on Friday night with a touchback kickoff by Alex McGregor, a quarterback sack by Cory Jopp, a blocked punt by Nick Hasslen,  and a six-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cam Korlath, all in the first six plays.

Jeff Mueller (44) charged across the goal line for the second of his four touchdowns for Zimmerman. No. 36 is Andrew Nixon. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


The Thunder hardly slowed down after the great start, cruising 55-14 in their home opener, rushing for 304 yards while passing for another 124 on just six attempts.

“We practiced pretty well all week and we had a high tempo tonight,” said Korlath. “We came out and executed and we didn’t turn the ball over, which is huge.”

Collin Ashley reached for a pass from Cam Korlath, made the catch over the Milaca defender and broke away for a 60-yard gain. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The Thunder opened with a 37-22 win over longtime power Albany and followed with the romp over a lesser opponent. (Milaca lost its opener to Becker 61-6.)

“Our offense is clicking. We had a great week of practice and we thought there were some things we could do tonight,” said coach Tom Kish. “I’m happy with how we executed. We had some things that were not clean last week, but they were clean tonight.”

Thunder fullback Jeff Muller rumbled for four touchdowns, gaining 109 yards in 13 carries, getting big holes to run through on several carries.

Korlath ran 10 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and hit four of six passes for 124 yards, including a 60-yard gain to Collin Ashley and a 45-yarder to Lunning. Ashley also dashed 42 yards for a touchdown.

“Our running game and our offensive line is really strong, and the pass is there when we need it,” said Korlath. “We’ve got all the right pieces this year. The line is really protecting me. I think I’ve had one sack which may have been my fault.”

Cody Thompson rambled 30 yards after intercepting a pass. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Milaca had one nice 80-yard drive directed by Brian Kiel, ending with a five-yard scoring pass to Jorgen Erickson that made the score 28-6.

But Zimmerman responded quickly with the long gainer to Ashley leading to another Mueller touchdown for a 35-6 halftime lead.

“It was nice to see us stop their momentum right away,” said Kish. “They have a couple nice athletes and they executed a couple good screen plays on us. When they thought the had a chance to get back in the game it was good to see us get it (momentum) right back.”

The Thunder had three pass interceptions, by Lunning, Cody Thompson and Michael Kuter.

Cory Jopp (75) wrapped up Milaca’s Jonah Gahm as the ball came loose. The Thunder recovered, but the play was ruled stopped before the fumble. The players are Jeremy Sloneker (53), Nick Hasslen (41), Austin Tretbar (32), Eli Muellenbach (66) and Noah Lunning (9). (Photo by Bruce Strand)


Next for the Thunder will be Princeton there next Friday.

Zimmerman 55, Milaca 14
Zimmerman …….. 14   21   13   7 — 55
Milaca ……………   0     6     0   8 — 14

Enjoying the game was the Zimmerman student rooting section. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Zim—Cam Korlath 6 run (Alex McGregor kick)
Zim—Jeff Mueller 3 run (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Korlath 9 run (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Mueller 9 run (MacGregor kick)
Mil—Jorgen Erickson 5 pass from Brian Kiel (kick blocked)
Zim—Mueller 6 run (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Collin Ashley 42 run (kick blocked)
Zim—Mueller 8 run (MacGregor kick)
Mil—Mitch Hanenburg 67 pass  from Kiel (2-point conversion, name not available)
Zim—Austin May 3 run (MacGregor kick)

Zimmerman statistics

Rushing — Mueller 13-109, Ashley 5-69, Korlath 10-62, May 6-25, Noah Lunning 4-24, Josh Hilliard 2-8, Hunter Smith 2-5, Mathew Dorso 1-2, Mack Riley 1-0
Passing — Korlath 4-6-124-0
Receiving — Ashley 2-68, Lunning 1-45, Cody Thompson 1-11
Sacks — Cory Jopp, Nick Hasslen
Interceptions — Thompson, Lunning, Michael Kuter