Another week, another exhilarating win for the Brookfield Central Lancers.
And while host West Allis Hale fell just short Friday night in a 21-14 double-overtime defeat, it was crystal clear the Huskies are a drastically different team than the one that went 1-6 in the Greater Metro Conference in 2011.
“Be on alert,” Brookfield Central head coach Jamie Meulemans said. “It’s the Greater Metro Conference. West Allis Hale a great team, they’ve got great athletes. Week in and week out, you have to have a sense of urgency in this conference.”
Early on, it looked like there might be a repeat of last season’s 34-14 drubbing, as the Lancers scored in just under two minutes. The initial scoring drive was set up by junior Demario Harris’ 54-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
But in a game marred by an inordinate amount of mental miscues on both sides, the offenses lagged as the first half continued. The Huskies made it 7-6 on senior Taylor Tomczak’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:13 left in the half but missed the extra point.
Central nearly scored again before the end of the half after a series of more bruising runs from Harris, but a sack on second and goal left the Lancers helpless to stop the clock.
Late in the third, Harris rattled off another 43-yard rush to set up a 10-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Riley Richarz.
“Demario just gets stronger as the game goes on,” Meulemans said. “A game like that with a lot of snaps, everyone’s tired, but you look in their eyes and you can see they’re ready to go right back at it.”
The Huskies were productive on offense most of the night but had several drives stall due to penalties and dropped passes. Finally, midway through the fourth quarter, they advanced to the Lancers’ 10-yard line. On fourth down from the 9-yard line, senior quarterback Nick Sotiros hit Marcel Mundt over the middle on a slant. Junior running back Corey Stingley converted the two-point attempt to tie the game at 14 with seven minutes to play.
On the Lancers next possession, they were stopped on 4th-and-1 when Huskies linebacker Richie Jordan stuffed Harris on a dive. The Huskies’ offense drove deep into Central territory, but defensive lineman Drew Degner’s interception with 27 seconds left forced overtime.
“It was an awesome effort from the whole defensive line,” Lancers defensive end Austin Vanark said. “When the whole line plays like that, it gives everyone a chance to step up and make plays.”
The Lancers defense stopped the Huskies in the first overtime possession but fumbled on their own possession. In the second overtime, Central senior Marcus Crum scored on a play-action run the left, giving Central a 21-14 lead.
“I was hoping they’d call my number,” Crum said. “It just opened up for us. Great blocking from our line, great blocking from the slot, and that was it.”
Meulemans said it was Harris’ 25-carry, 225-yard performance that made the game-winning play possible.
“We thought we could get to the edge there,” he said. “They were playing really heavy on Demario inside, so we ran a little play action and then went outside.”
The game appeared headed for a third overtime when Sotiros hit Dylan Gilbert in stride on a slant over the middle on third down, but Gilbert dropped the ball. A screen on fourth down went nowhere, and the Lancers bench rejoiced.
“Once again, these kids overcame adversity,” Meulemans said. “We’ve been telling them all summer, things happen and you have to be able to push back, in football and in life. They’ve done it two weeks in a row now. It’s a sign of a good team; it’s a sign of a team that plays together. They regroup no matter what the circumstance is, and I’m very proud of these boys for that.”
The 2-0 Lancers travel to 2-0 Sussex Hamilton next week in a clash that could well determine the champion in the Greater Metro. Hale gets another chance to show it belongs, hosting Marquette.