Brookfield Central football team ready for undefeated Menomonee Falls
Lancers, Indians both 3-0 heading into Friday's matchup
After averaging 50 points a game in the first three weeks of the season, Brookfield Central's football team will meet its toughest opponent of the young season this Friday when the Lancers travel to Menomonee Falls for a 7 p.m. game.
Like the Lancers, the Indians are 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Greater Metro Conference, tied for first with Sussex Hamilton and Marquette.
The Indians blanked Central, 14-0, last season, snapping a two-game Lancers winning streak against Falls. The Lancers have won five of the last seven meetings.
"John (Baker) has a good coaching staff," Central coach Jamie Meulemans said. "They have some good skill players in sophomore Bryce McMurty, running back Christian Almonte and quarterback Adam Verchart. They all have good speed.
"Their offensive line also gets off the ball and they have a good combination of all facets of their passing threat. And they are physical."
The Lancers warmed up for their meeting this week by clobbering a Wauwatosa East team, 56-0, that is 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the GMC.
The Red Raiders, already beset by injuries, also lost to Tosa West, 54-0, and scored a 17-14 win over Nicolet in a non-conference battle.
"Tosa East has some nice couple of receivers and they have a good quarterback," Meulemans said. "They play hard.
"They were fighting hard no matter what the score was."
Central put the game away quickly, scoring 14 points in the first quarter and 21 in the second, to take a 35-0 lead and put the running clock in effect to begin the second half.
Nine Lancers ran the ball, led by senior quarterback Riley Richarz, who rushed for 173 yards (13.3 average yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
Backup sophomore quarterback Dominic Labellarte was actually the Lancers' second-leading rusher, getting 87 yards on only five carries, a 17.4 average and two touchdowns.
Central's top two quarterbacks combined for 260 of the team's 491 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
Ace senior running back Demario Harris had 70 yards (8.8 average) and a touchdown. Malik Turner bounced back from an injury to rush for 44 yards and a score.
"Our offense was clicking well," Meulemans said. "Richarz, Harris, they did a nice job."
Senior placekicker Steven Knopp had a big day, nailing 8-for-8 on extra points.
Harris opened the scoring with a 17-yard run with 7 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter. Senior Gunnar Malensek added a 10-yard score with 3:25 left in the period.
Leading 14-0 going into the second quarter, Richarz scored three times for a 35-0 lead at intermission.
He first scored from 40 yards out with 9:49 on the clock. Then he raced in from 23 yards with 5:25 left. He closed out the first half with a 34-yard run with 2:18 left.
Leading 35-0, Meulemans was asked what he wanted to accomplish in the second half.
"I always try in the first series to leave the starters in and keep the running clock," he said. "We want to play at a high level, because otherwise someone could get hurt."
Meulemans' second objective was to give the reserves some playing time.
"You have to get the troops in to get evaluated," he said. "You want them to be able to perform at the highest level.
"They were physical and weren't afraid to step into the varsity game.
"They kept the shutout, which was also nice and they stepped in and scored some points."
Turner scored from 17 yards out with 6:30 left in the third quarter, the only points in the period.
Central's final two scores came at 11:49 and 3:45 on runs of 42 yards and 12 yards by Labellarte, a 5-foot-10, 134-pounder.
"Our kids are getting better every week," Meulemans said. "That's what we're looking for, week to week improvement."
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