West Allis Hale holds off late rally from West Allis Central
Husties beat rival in action-packed game
The fireworks came early and late as the West Allis Hale and West Allis Central football teams squared off in their annual showdown on Friday night.
When the smoke had cleared, the Huskies had gained a hard-fought, emotionally-charged 27-24 victory over their rival before a large crowd at the West Allis Athletic Field.
Hale earned its first victory of the 2013 season, improving to 1-4 overall, while Central slipped to 0-5.
The evening began with a special ceremony officially christening the new field-turf playing surface. Minutes later, the on-field thrills started.
Central's Darren Walker returned the opening kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 6-0 with mere seconds elapsed.
The Huskies answered immediately as quarterback Joe Jo Breznik hit Jeff Schubert with a 60-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it 7-6 with about one minute gone.
"We ran a fake screen and we were going deep on that," Breznik said. "(It was) just perfect, right on the money."
Central responded by driving downfield on its next possession, with quarterback Will Konecny finding Aaron-Leon Tobar with a 4-yard scoring pass on fourth-and-goal. A two-point conversion run failed, leaving the Bulldogs up 12-7 with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Huskies then marched 68 yards in seven plays. Schubert ripped off back-to-back runs of 21 and 29 yards to the Central 18-yard line, then plowed in from 1 yard out for the score. Jason Palesse's extra point put Hale ahead 14-12 with 2:21 remaining in the first.
For those keeping count, that's four touchdowns in about 10 minutes.
As exciting as the first period was, however, the conclusion of the game was equally thrilling.
Hale took a 27-12 lead on an 8-yard touchdown run from Joe Werner with just 4:16 left in the game.
Just when it looked like the rest of the game might become a formality, though, Central's offense moved into high gear.
The Bulldogs marched 57 yards in eight plays, with Konecny hitting 5 of 6 passes for 48 yards along the way.
The drive began and ended with passes to Walker, the first for 17 yards to the Hale 40 and the final one for a 9-yard touchdown in which Konecny found the talented receiver in the right corner of the end zone.
A two-point conversion pass was broken up, and Central was down 27-18 with 2:20 left.
The Bulldogs recovered an onside kick at midfield and drove for the score in six plays. Konecny connected with CJ Edwards for 19 yards to the Hale 19, then hit Maico Navejar for 18 yards to the Hale 1.
Konecny then tallied two plays later to bring Central within 27-24 with 47 seconds remaining.
On those two drives, the junior quarterback hit 8 of 10 passes for 85 yards and one score.
An onside kick
Central attempted another onside kick, but this time, Hale's Isaiah Mundt recovered at his team's 44, and the Huskies ran out the clock.
That brought a sigh of relief on the Hale side.
"(That was) too close, way too close," Breznik said. "It was scary."
Hale head coach Brandon Ehret said, "We faced some adversity at the beginning of the game and at the end of the game. Central has some great athletes, and they made some plays.
"I was proud of our kids for facing it, battling through and overcoming some things."
In between the thrilling opening and the nail-biting ending, the two defenses pretty much dominated.
In the second period, Hale took a 21-12 lead on a 23-yard touchdown run from Werner.
Central then went on a two-minute drill that actually foreshadowed its fourth-period heroics. Konecny completed passes of 11 and 8 yards to Walker and another of 20 yards to Leon-Tobar to take the Bulldogs to the Hale 2.
On fourth-and-1, defensive lineman Jordan Plantiko broke through and sacked Konecny for a 10-yard loss to end the first half. Plantiko collected three sacks on the night.
"Jordan had a sensational game for us, and that's what we expect out of him," Ehret said. "He's a big, physical kid, and he's explosive. He had a dynamite game, and I'm really happy for him."
The third period featured three punts and two failed fourth-down attempts from the two teams.
"I thought for the most part, our defense really put it together and played some real good football," Ehret said.
The offense returned in the fourth period for both teams, with the Bulldogs causing some nervous final moments for Ehret's team.
Werner finished with 106 yards rushing and Schubert 85 for the Huskies, while Breznik threw for 123 yards.
For Central, Konecny passed for 190 yards, using five different receivers. Walker led the way with seven catches for 66 yards. Jason Alvarez added 72 yards rushing.
The Huskies visit Brookfield East (1-2, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Sept. 27, while the Bulldogs host Brookfield Central (2-1, 4-1).
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