The annual Al Gusho soccer tournament at Brookfield East is set for Friday and Saturday, with the Spartans hosting Madison Memorial in the stadium and Neenah battling Catholic Memorial on the north field at 4:30 p.m.
Arrowhead meets Muskego in the stadium and Marquette plays Kenosha Bradford on the north field at 6 p.m. the first night.
Those are some pretty good teams all playing in one spot.
The Spartans and the Lancers should be in the thick of the Greater Metro Conference race again, along with the powerful Hilltoppers. One thing both coaches - East's Herbie Dundun and Central's Jon Mroz - believe in is playing as many tough non-conference games as possible.
Brookfield Central football
It's early in the season, of course - only one game has been played - but the Brookfield Central football team faces a big challenge on the road Friday.
The Lancers lost to Racine Park (1-0), a team that hasn't had a winning season since going 10-2 in 2008. The Panthers were 4-5 last year and 5-5 in 2009.
Central is playing two-platoon football, a luxury some smaller programs don't have. They fell behind 17-0 to Park, before DeMario Harris scored on a nice 32-yard run to put their first points of the season on the board.
But Central's defense couldn't control Panthers quarterback Jordan Payne, who scored three rushing touchdowns and rushed for 155 yards, averaging almost 10 yards per carry.
The Lancers showed a solid running game, however, as running backs Harris and Craig Jordan and quarterback Jason Meichtry rushed for 278 yards among them. Harris had 135 yards and touchdown runs of 32 and 20 yards, Meichtry had 81 yards and a 43-yard run, and Jordan rushed for 62 yards.
It is too early to know how good either of these teams will be come playoff time, but nobody wants to begin the season with an 0-2 record.
One thing for sure, the Lancers will have to pick up their passing game, as Meichtry completed as many passes (5) as he had intercepted.
While coaches don't - and shouldn't - look ahead, media people do it all the time.
The Lancers open the Greater Metro Conference season with West Allis Hale and Sussex Hamilton, both team's with opening week victories. During the preseason prognostications, Central is bunched in a group with these two teams and Menomonee Falls behind the always powerful Marquette.
One interesting angle - which will probably have nothing to do with the end result - is the return of the Lancers' offensive coordinator Joe Koch to Oak Creek, where he had building the Knights into a state powerhouse before leaving a few years back.
After covering New Berlin Eisenhower-New Berlin West and Wauwatosa East-Wauwatosa West games Friday and Saturday, I am looking forward to getting my first exposure to one of my Brookfield teams.
Brookfield East football
Across town, the Spartans are coming off a 55-0 victory over Grafton on Friday. It was important for the young Spartans to get off to a good start, especially since both their quarterbacks, Bryce Pompos and Dylan Golla, were getting their first snaps as varsity players.
But before making reservations for the state tournament, East fans need to realize the Blackhawks - who were 0-9 last year - have not won more than two games in a season going back through 2005.
East will now host Milwaukee South of the City Conference, a team that has had back-to-back 3-6 seasons.
It is important for a squad as young as the Spartans to build some early-season confidence before beginning the rugged GMC schedule. The Spartans catch a break by opening against West Allis Central and Wauwatosa East in games one and three with a tougher matchup against Menomonee Falls in between.
The Bulldogs and Red Raiders, both improved teams, only had one win between them last year, a win by West Allis Central over Tosa East. The Spartans' second game of the GMC season, at Menomonee Falls, will be the biggest challenge the Spartans will face in the first five weeks, in my opinion.
Smart non-conference scheduling by East coach Tom Swittel will hopefully pay off.
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