New Berlin - New Berlin West defeated Whitnall in one of the wildest, craziest high school football games in Southeastern Wisconsin this year, 56-42. In so doing, the Vikings qualified for the playoffs, improving to 4-4 in the Woodland Conference.
In an evening chock full of crazy plays, one may have made the difference.
Following an interception, Whitnall began a key drive early in the fourth quarter on its own 5-yard line, trailing 49-36. The Falcons marched all the way down the field and found themselves with a first-and-goal on the 8-yard line.
Whitnall flying with momentum
At this point, despite trailing by two touchdowns, the Falcons had all the momentum. Senior quarterback Zach Sutton was on fire that drive, hitting his previous four passes in short order to get to the first-and-goal situation. On first down, Sutton again dropped back to pass looking for a quick slant to the right, but West junior linebacker Travis McKeon read Sutton's eyes and grabbed his second interception of the evening.
"Our defensive line pressured the quarterback, our linebackers went to their zones, and the quarterback had to get rid of the ball, and it ended up in my hands," said McKeon.
Still, the game was not a defensive battle by any means.
Junior Tim Robey ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown for New Berlin West to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead. Whitnall took the ball on its own 45-yard line following a failed onside kick attempt, and senior Nick Cimler took off on a 52-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage.
Just more than three minutes later, junior Dylan Wiese, recently converted to quarterback, found junior wide receiver Chamika Wijenayake from 21 yards out to give the Vikings a 14-6 lead. Senior wide receiver Sam Mentkowski took the following kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to answer for the Falcons. Whitnall failed on the two-point conversion attempt again.
Defense needs some work
Despite his team's dynamic offensive showing, West coach Al Moroder was not pleased with his team's defensive performance after the game.
"We have talked about flying around to the football all year and we have had better games, and we are going to pick it up into the playoffs," said Moroder.
For Whitnall, the bright spot of this game was the play of Sutton, who did everything in his power to try to lead Whitnall to a victory. He completed 27 of 39 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 54 yards and another score.
For West, McKeon rushed for 171 yards and two scores, Bryan Watson carried the ball for 138 yards and a touchdown, and Wiese scored twice and finished with 92 yards on the ground.
"They're not fooling anybody; they are going to run the ball," said Whitnall coach Jeff Wallack. "A lot of off-tackle stuff that we just couldn't answer, and we were standing flat footed. Luckily for us, our offense kept us in the game, but it's still a loss."
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