As the Wisconsin winter approaches and weather conditions worsen, conventional wisdom would suggest employing a steady ball-control offense. Just don’t tell that to New Berlin Eisenhower senior wide receiver Dylan Petre.
Petre hauled in touchdown receptions of 55, 24 and 62 yards on a frigid Friday night as Eisenhower edged visiting Brown Deer, 28-15.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder caught his first touchdown, the 55-yarder, at the 7:11 mark in the first quarter.
“We had a waggle to the right called, and John [Crowley] made a perfect throw,” Petre said. “It was beautiful.”
After the Falcons fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, Crowley went right back to Petre on first down, this time from 24 yards out. A total of 15 seconds separated the two scores. At the end of the first quarter, Eisenhower senior Mitch Teipner blocked a Brown Deer punt and recovered it in the end zone to give the Lions a 21-0 lead.
But the Falcons clawed back and made it 21-8 after a 16-play, 74-yard drive capped by the most impressive 1-yard run you’ll ever see by senior running back Najee Williams. With 4:22 left in the third quarter, Brown Deer faced a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. The Falcons ran a toss to the left to Williams, who was met by a defender and then changed directions, outran an entire defense and scored on the opposite side of the field.
The Falcons were also led by the gutsy performance of junior quarterback Jake Schimenz, who was more impressive than the stat sheet suggests. Despite a completion percentage just over 50 (19-of-37) and two interceptions, it was Schimenz’s athleticism that kept Brown Deer competitive. He finished with 302 all-purpose yards.
“He’s elusive, and he can make plays,” Brown Deer head coach Rob Green said. “He allows us to do some things with his athleticism that not a lot of guys can do.”
However, just 78 seconds after Williams’ run, Crowley hit Petre again for a 62-yard score. Petre caught a short pass over the middle and did the rest on his own.
“John made a perfect throw again, and after that it was just off to the races,” Petre said.
“That was probably what you’d call the turning point of the game,” Eisenhower head coach Jeff Setz said. “He took a catch that was just a first down, broke a tackle and suddenly it’s a touchdown.”
Brown Deer would score again midway through the final quarter on another 4-yard run from Williams, who finished with a workmanlike 110 yards on 32 carries and added 62 receiving yards on five catches.
Trailing 28-15, the Falcons recovered an onside kick and marched to the Eisenhower 21-yard line before being stopped on fourth and 1.
The Lions fumbled on the ensuing possession, and Brown Deer reached Eisenhower’s 7-yard line, but the drive was again stopped on fourth and 3, allowing Eisenhower to run out the clock and end the regular season at 7-2 overall and 6-2 in the Woodland-Black Conference, behind only Greendale (8-1, 8-0).
While Brown Deer dropped to 5-4 and 4-3 to finish second in the Woodland Blue, both teams will qualify for the playoffs, which begin next weekend.
“Eisenhower made some big plays in the first half and took advantage of them early,” Green said. “They played a complete four quarters and we played about one and a half. It was a good tune-up for both teams before the playoffs. But we have a very resilient group. They won’t drop their heads, and they’ll definitely be ready to go.”
Despite a five-game winning streak and a season that saw Eisenhower lose two games by a total of five points, Setz said his team has plenty to work on heading into the playoffs.
“It’s 21-0 after the first quarter and then we have a very difficult time sustaining anything at all after that,” he said. “It seemed like Brown Deer always had the ball. We like to think running the ball is one of our strengths, and tonight it was anything but. At this time last year, we were collecting everybody’s equipment, so I’m happy we’re in. Where that’s going to take us, we’re not sure. But in the playoffs, the level of play goes up, and we’re going to have to play some very good teams.”