Brookfield East used dominant line play and superior speed to overwhelm Grafton, 55-0, in the football season opener in Brookfield on Friday.
The teams played to a draw through most of the first quarter. But after Grafton’s starting quarterback was knocked from the game, Brookfield East utilized a hurry-up offense to pull ahead. The team drew first blood, then never looked back.
“Not a lot of things went right,” said Grafton coach Ben Chossek. “We lost our quarterback early. That hurt. We just couldn’t quite pop one. Then they started to hit some big plays, and when we couldn’t move the ball, it gave them lots of opportunities, which they took advantage of. Brookfield is just a very good team.”
Ahead by a touchdown midway through the second quarter, the Spartans turned up the heat, tacking on three touchdowns in just less than five minutes.
“We have a really, really young football team,” said Brookfield East coach Tom Swittel. “A lot of our kids were out there getting their first taste of football, and we played like that in the first half. We went to sleep for about a quarter.
“But we went to our one-minute offense at the end of the half, and we were able to produce two touchdowns,” said Swittel. “When we got into our hurry-up game, it forced them not to huddle. It forced them just to play.”
The Spartans also had the advantage of dominant lines on both sides of the ball.
“We start three seniors and two juniors on our offensive line; it might be our biggest line in the high school’s history,” Brookfield East junior running back Zack Schober said. “We’ve got big guys up there. It’s great for me. They opened huge holes.”
Schober scored the game’s first touchdown at the 10:21 mark in the first quarter, then added another in the third quarter. He also kicked seven extra points.
“But you have got to give it to Grafton,” Schober said. “They played tough against our line the whole game through. They never quit.”
Still, Brookfield East’s line - snapping together in unison before every play - kept the Grafton defense off quarterback Bryce Pompos. The junior, in turn, completed 10 of 14 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was junior Brian Smith, who pulled in two of those touchdowns. He ran under an aired-out Pompos deep ball in the second quarter, then outjumped a pair of Grafton defensive backs at the goal line on a hook route two drives later.
Pompos also ran the ball six times for 31 yards and one touchdown, before exiting the game in the third quarter. His replacement, junior Dylan Golla, ran for another score in the fourth.
Senior Mike Amato and junior Nate Schneider also scored for Brookfield East.
On the other side of the ball, Brookfield East’s defensive line steadily stormed through the line, regularly driving play backwards into the backfield. Its linebackers stayed close to the line of scrimmage, too - dancing, dodging, darting, faking and feigning just behind the line.
The Blackhawks variety of interior run plays – off tackle, full back plunges, misdirections, quarterback keepers and options – proved largely fruitless. The team’s 33 attempts garnered only 43 yards and two first downs.
“I still thought (junior running back) Zack DeBuhr ran real hard,” Chossek said. “He really got after it.”
Grafton’s passing attack, meanwhile, was plagued by collapsed pockets, steady pressure, and multiple sacks and fumbles. Grafton’s quarterbacks combined to complete only four passes, while throwing three interceptions.
Next up for the Spartans is a 7 p.m matchup at home against Milwaukee South Division on Friday.