Iola’s biggest problem wasn’t the Milano Eagles Friday night. Their biggest problem was hanging on to the football.
Iola lost four fumbles that caused point swings in a 35-8 loss at Eagle Stadium.
“We just shot ourselves in the foot all night,” Iola coach Scott Bishop said. “We need to take better care of the football."
The Bulldogs (2-1) held the Eagles on a fourth down, but a roughing the passer call extended Milano’s drive into an eventual touchdown. Iola then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and it was returned for another score. Milano’s two touchdowns within 10 seconds set the pace for the night.
Iola got on the board with six minutes remaining in the first half when Hayden Martinez scampered in 8 yards for a Bulldog touchdown. Martinez also ran it in for two points to cut Milano’s lead to 14-8.
In the second half, Iola twice drove the ball inside the Eagle 5-yard line, only to fumble it both times. The would-be 14 points — combined with Milano’s 14 points in 10 seconds in the first half — most likely made up the four-touchdown deficit that was the final score.
Iola rushed for 192 yards on 36 carries. Milano had just 112 yards rushing, and only 15 more total yards than the Bulldogs.
Milano had no turnovers and had fewer big penalties.
“We need to work on not turning the ball over if we want to get back into the win column,” Bishop said.
Martinez had 114 rushing yards on 13 attempts, and completed two passes for 25 yards and an interception. Geronimo Castillo had one reception for 13 yards.
Sam Millsap led Iola with 12 tackles. Allan Carabajal had 11 tackles, followed by John Kay’s 9, Colton Brunette’s 8 and Michael Clark’s 6.
Iola will have homecoming this week in the first-ever meeting against the Anderson-Shiro Owls. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.