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Brookfield Central makes Devils see red

Lancers' Kennedy gets first win, 35-28, over former team

Sept. 2, 2014

Brookfield Central football coach Jed Kennedy was proud of the character his team displayed in the Lancers 35-28 victory at Kenosha Bradford on Aug. 29.

First of all, Central was coming off an opening 20-6 loss to Whitefish Bay in a game in which the Lancers were dominated on both sides of the ball.

Secondly, playing at his former stomping grounds, Kennedy saw his team take a big lead, only to see the Red Devils tie it and Central come back to win.

"It was really good to see us play more physical, and our emotions were sky high," Kennedy said. "That's what makes this a great win.

"I was elated with how the kids responded and played. It was awesome. They came out and played hard."

No one played better than junior quarterback Dominic Labellarte, who rushed for 172 yards on 27 carries, a 6.4 average per carry, which included two touchdown runs in the second half.

"Coming into the season I felt he was one of best players in the league," Kennedy said. "Everybody knew, including himself. After the opener, I sat him down and told him I knew he could take it. There was a lot of weight on his shoulders. He had a phenomenal performance."

Besides the outstanding play of Labellarte, Central picked up touchdowns from the defense and the special teams.

Outside linebacker Matt Patterson picked off a Mitchell Hoff pass and raced 40 yards for the game's first score at 11 minutes, 21 seconds in the first quarter.

After a 7-yard touchdown run by junior running back Malik Turner at 5:25 in the first quarter, the special teams made a huge play to score in the second period.

Junior linebacker Michael Dragotta blocked a punt at the 5-yard line and fell on it in the end zone for a 21-0 lead.

"When your defense or special teams can score a touchdown for you, chances are you're winning 80 percent of the time. That's like stealing a win," the coach said.

The Lancers needed the big plays by their defense and special teams, as their 21-0 lead disappeared in the second half when Bradford scored on short runs by Hoff, and brothers Noah and Alexio Rosales.

But Central scored twice on runs by Labellarte for a 35-21 lead, and then held off the Red Devils to give Kennedy his first win, coincidentally coming against his old team.

"It was a little different (coming back)," Kennedy said. "I had a great five years there, coaching football, living there. It was great to see some people I haven't seen in awhile.

"But the game was about the kids; not about me, about them. I was excited for the kids. You go through some learning bumps, but getting the win is good because it validates the changes."

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