Waukesha West beats Brookfield East football team for revenge
Spartans had beaten Wolverines to open 2012 season
The Waukesha West football team has to feel a lot better about its season-opening performance than last year's.
The Wolverines thumped host Brookfield East on Friday, 23-7, one year after an embarrassing 29-0 opener at the hands of the Spartans.
The Spartans (0-1) now host Beaver Dam (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
"I know you guys have to feel good about this after what happened a year ago," West head coach Steve Rux told his players in a post-game speech.
It was, for the most part, an evenly-matched contest, until a high snap sent the football soaring over East senior quarterback Zach Damico's head midway through the second quarter. Damico made the smart play and fell on the ball, but surrendered a safety that sparked West's surge.
"It's a game of momentum," Rux said. "We missed some opportunities early, fumbling the football, and they missed some opportunities, so when that happened, I think it jacked us up a little bit."
After the ensuing safety free kick, West started a drive inside Spartan territory at the 47-yard line. Senior quarterback Drew Rhodes flashed his moves on the ground, rushing for 43 yards on a five-play drive capped by his 1-yard keeper on third-and-goal, giving West took a 9-0 lead with 6:31 to play in the first half.
West's defense forced a short series on the Spartans' next possession and the Wolverines again started a drive from the Spartans 40.
Five plays later, the Wolverines struck again, this time on a 10-yard touchdown burst from junior fullback Thomas MacCudden. MacCudden also crossed the goal line on a two-point conversion to give West a 17-0 lead at halftime.
"You just can't do that against a quality opponent like that," Spartans coach Tom Swittel said of the field-position battle. "They're good enough without you making it easy for them."
The Spartans threatened early in the fourth quarter and reached West's 19-yard line. But on first down, they saw another drive go awry when a Damico pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off by junior linebacker Nick Radloff. The Wolverines line tipped passes all night and intercepted Damico three times.
The Wolverines' third and clinching score came midway through the final quarter when senior running back Elijah Fort scored on a 3-yard rush. Fort sparked the drive earlier with a 38-yard scamper down the left sideline.
He was a steady threat all night for the Wolverines, and despite an early fumble, he finished strong by rushing 24 times for 118 yards.
Senior wideout Will Sutton scored on a 12-yard touchdown catch from Damico to avoid the shutout with 1:34 left to play. The Wolverines recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.
"This is one of the most enjoyable teams I've coached," Rux said. "A big difference this year is that most of these guys have played a lot of football on Friday nights. There's great chemistry and they're a pleasure to coach."
Rux reached his 100th career victory as a head coach with the win.
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