Brookfield East’s hard tackling and physical play had to make up for a lack of discipline on Friday evening, but the Spartans came out with a 33-7 victory in their home opener over West Allis Central.
The Spartans gained 299 yards despite racking up a plethora of penalties throughout the game. They were led by Zach Schober, who rushed for 162 of those yards.
“Our offensive line did a great job," Schober said. "Those guys started it off for me and opened the holes, so I’m really not surprised,” said Schober.
The scoring started in the first quarter when the Bulldogs were stopped on their opening drive. Dakota Behrs punted the ball to Schober, who returned it for a 65-yard touchdown. On their next possession, the Bulldogs marched down to the Spartans’ 10-yard line, when Behrs completed a pass that was fumbled and recovered by East’s Sam Brunker.
The Spartans began to march in the opposite direction led by Kyle Wirtz, who caught three passes of 14 yards, 11 yards and 6 yards. The Spartans three times tried to punch the ball into the Bulldogs end zone from the 1-yard line but were denied on all three, with Alec James wrapped up on third down.
But on fourth down, quarterback Zach Damico pitched the ball to James, who dove over Central defenders into the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
“The difference was the opening punt, and their offensive and defensive lines which out-physicaled us,” said Central coach Dax Rodriguez. “Defensively we held our own. They put a few nice series in there, but we had a pick-six that we should have had that they ended up scoring on, and then we had a busted coverage, but I give Brookfield East all the credit. They beat us, and we’re going to go back to the film and say, ‘What the heck were we doing?’”
The Bulldogs did respond after East’s third touchdown of the night. Rodriguez decided to swap out senior Behrs and put in Will Konecny, a promising sophomore. On his first play of the game, he hit Darren Walker for an 80-yard touchdown pass and end the Spartans’ hopes of a shutout.
“He’s a sophomore,” said Rodriguez. “The senior has done a heck of a job, and he won the job, but we felt that the sophomore could make plays. Unfortunately, neither one of them could.”
The Spartans took little time in responding, however, as a mere four plays later, James ran the ball in for a touchdown, his second of the night. They rounded off the scoring with another touchdown run from Schober for 33 yards near the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“We played well on offense and defense,” Schober commented. “Defense, I think, is our strength. We tackled hard and we played really hard.”
Despite the decent showing for his offense, coach Tom Swittel was left concerned by the penalties, particularly a series of false starts during the third quarter.
“Lack of concentration? I don’t know what it was, but we shot ourselves in the foot so many times," Swittel said. "To play as well as we played last week, and then to go out and play as poorly as we played, is really disappointing.”
Schober agreed with his coach. “We need to be more disciplined. We had way too many penalties. If we’re not ready to play, we may lose, so we’ve got to come back and practice this week and get ready for Menomonee Falls.”
“The conference is really strong,” said Swittel. “By virtue of teams that are ranked, it’s one of the better in the state. Every week’s a dogfight. I give West Allis Central a lot of credit, they played hard. Every team’s a dogfight.”
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