The West Allis Central and Sussex Hamilton football game Friday night could have been mistaken for a track meet.
The two teams combined for more than 460 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, all but two of which came on plays of at least 28 yards.
Ultimately, the Chargers outlasted the Bulldogs, 52-35 and kept alive their chances for a Greater Metro Conference title.
Hamilton (7-1, 5-1) dominated the first half and led 45-0 at the break on the strength of its two star running backs who scored three of the team’s five second-quarter touchdowns.
Leading 7-0, senior Nick Patterson opened the second quarter with an 88-yard scoring run and added a two yard plunge, while sophomore brother Drew Patterson had a 45-yard score.
“Our offensive line did a great job,” the older Patterson said. “There were just big holes and it was easy to run behind those guys.”
The duo combined for 179 yards on the ground in the first half; Nick had 129 on seven carries and Drew added 50 on just two runs.
Nick also hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Matt Judson, who later found wideout J.J. Flor for a 29-yard score.
A 34-yard interception return by Nick Boyd put the Chargers up 35-0 midway through the quarter and a 40-yard field goal from Kenny Lo capped the first half barrage that earned the praise of head coach John Damato.
“I thought we were clicking on all cylinders,” he said. “You look at what the defense did, we had a pick-six and they put our offense in good field position.”
On the other side, Central coach Dax Rodriguez was hoping his team could rebound from an unexpected and unfortunate start.
The Bulldogs (3-5, 2-4) were fighting for a playoff spot but lost star receiver Brian Hoppe on the opening series of the game to a foot injury, a setback that deflated the team.
“Sussex is a good team, and they weren’t about to feel sorry for us,” Rodriguez said. “They punched us in the mouth three or four times and kids were shell-shocked.”
With a crucial game against Brookfield East next week, Hamilton rested most starters in the second half, and that allowed Central to showcase some of its young talent.
Freshman quarterback Will Konecny sparked the offense and led three scoring drives in the final 2:30 of the game.
He connected with junior Tre Nowaczynski on a 71-yard touchdown and on the next possession hit senior Kenny Shumpert for a 40-yard scoring strike.
Konecny added a 3-yard scoring run and finished 5-of-9 for 158 yards, all in the fourth quarter.
Central also got second-half scores from running backs Troy Brown, on a 65-yard run, and Waige Fischer, on a 30-yard run.
“We went to halftime and I said we can either define our season as, 'We quit,' or we can come back and show that we have some pride,” Rodriguez said. “I’m proud of our kids.”
For the Chargers, they are hoping to build on their first-half momentum heading into their showdown with Brookfield East.
“It was one of those games that was the game before the big one,” he said. “We’re excited about the opportunity and situation we put ourselves in.”
Tied with Marquette and Brookfield Central atop the GMC, the Chargers can secure at least a share of the crown with a win over the Spartans.
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