Lancers rally to beat Marquette, share first place
Watch Hilltoppers scored 28 points in second half
The final score said Brookfield Central beat Marquette, 42-38, on Friday at Central, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story.
Leading 35-10 with 1:06 left in the first half, the Lancers saw MUHS take advantage of several Central mistakes as quarterback Charlie Greif put on an air show with more than 300 yards in the second half.
When Mike Thompson caught his second touchdown pass of the game to take a 38-35 lead (Greif ran in a 2-point conversion) with 1 minute, 59 seconds left to play, it looked like the Lancers' chances to at least share the Greater Metro Championship were over.
Central quarterback Riley Richarz had a tipped interception and a fumble that led to Hilltoppers scoring two touchdowns late in the game. So when he took the Lancers out to the 26 yard line on what was to be their final drive with 1:29 left ot play, he had a lot on his mind.
"I messed up with the interception and the fumble," he said. "But there was no better feeling than going to the sideline where my coaches, my offense, the linemen, receivers, the defense, everybody came up to me and said, ‘You’re going to come down and win the game on the last possession.'”
With the crowd on both sides of the field screaming, Richarz drove the Lancers 74 yards on eight plays, including the night's two biggest.
Richarz hit Matt Liewen down the left side for 34 yards, as Liewen made a remarkable catch with two Hilltoppers right in his face, taking the ball to the Marquette 40.
"When I saw basically everyone went deep, I saw Matt on the left," Richarz said. "He had come up to me and told me if I threw him the ball, he would catch it. I had faith in him, that’s for sure."
Then on a 3rd-and-14, Richarz went back to pass, and his lineman gave him plenty of time. He lofted the ball into a spot in the left corner of the end zone and Terry Wallen fought off two Marquette defenders to come down with the winning touchdown with 22 seconds left to play.
Richarz said that he and Wallen have practiced that play.
"He told me 'If you ever have the chance in the ballgame when the time is right, throw the ball up and I will catch it.' I knew if I got it there to Terry - those balls weren’t looking good today - but if I got it there, I knew he was going to catch it. Right when I saw it go up, I knew he had it."
The touchdown saved the Lancers from an embarassing loss, as they dominated Marquette, 35-10, going in the final quarter.
But Greif led the Hilltoppers back in the final period, scoring on a 1-yard run following a Richarz interception at 10:51. Then he tossed a 21-yard scoring pass to Jerad Swan who raced into the end zone to cut the lead to 35-24 with 7:24 to play.
Finally, after a Richarz fumble, Greif tossed a 35-yard score to Jake Matkovitch with 5:57 left in the game.
Greif then put on an excellent drive, going 60 yards in 10 plays, hitting Thompson with the go-ahead TD to end a stretch of 28 unanswered points.
Greif finished 34-of-49 for 396 yards and 4 scores, as the Lancers stuffed the Hilltoppers running game.
Richarz for 4-for-9 for 100 yards and rushed for two scores, and DeMario Harris rushed for 156 yards and three scores and played a tough defense, until he had to leave the game in the second half with an injury.
"The make up of our team, our senior leadership, our chemistry, those are some things you can't control," coach Jamie Meulemans said. "But our juniors, they’re fighters too."
The Lancers (4-1, 6-1), Marquette (4-1, 5-2) and Menomonee Falls (4-1, 6-1) are now all tied for first in the GMC standings. The Lancers face a dangerous Sussex Hamilton team next week before closing against Falls.
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