Defense boosts West Allis Hale football team past Badger in opener
Huskies stop run, secure opening victory
With a stout defense leading the way, the West Allis Hale football team showed that this has the makings of a successful season.
The Huskies shut down Lake Geneva Badger on the road by a 17-7 count Aug. 22 while fixing two of their main problems from the 1-8 season in 2013.
They played strong run defense, holding Badger to 157 yards on the ground, and they were able to finish off drives, especially a crucial one near the end of the contest.
"Defensively, we did some things differently than in years past, and it caused some issues (for Badger) up front," head coach Brandon Ehret said. "I thought our D-line played about as physically as it ever has.
"Holding a team like that to 157 yards rushing is something our kids can take a lot of pride in doing. We struggled mightily against the run last year, and that was a key emphasis with our defense heading into this season."
Millikin leads defense
Linebacker Tyler Millikin led Hale with 10 tackles and 21/2 tackles for loss, while cornerback Kyle Czubakowski collected nine tackles, 11/2 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
"Both were flying to the football and delivering some pop," Ehret said of the pair.
Defensive lineman Cody Schumitsch added six tackles and one tackle for loss, defensive back Ben Swanson eight tackles and linebacker Nate Scherer six tackles and one tackle for loss.
In addition, linebacker Dominick O'Brion made a key play on special teams, sniffing out a fake punt inside the 48-yard line and forcing a 3-yard loss.
On offense, the Huskies scored on their opening drive with a 39-yard pass from quarterback Joe Jo Breznik to Jacob Carr. Millikin followed with the extra point.
For the rest of the first half, though, Hale revisited last season's inability to end promising drives with scores, although the Huskies did manage a 36-yard field goal by Millikin with 39 seconds left in the half for a 10-7 lead.
"We seemed to move the ball productively but just weren't as consistent in finding the end zone as we should have been," Ehret said. "We spoke with the kids at half about the importance of finishing, and that's exactly what our offense did with about 81/2 minutes left in the game as we went on a six-minute scoring drive."
Joe Werner ran in from 7 yards for the score with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left, and Millikin hit the extra point for a 17-7 lead.
Breznik hit 12 of 27 passes for 142 yards and a score, while running back Andre Siggers collected 88 yards on 13 carries and Werner 50 yards on 10 attempts.
Wide receiver Mat Wall caught seven passes for 66 yards and running back Jeff Schubert three for 33 yards.
Ehret said, considering the quality of the opposition, the victory was significant.
"We wanted to come out and make a statement against a very good program, which is always in the (WIAA) playoffs and consistently in the top two in its conference," he said. "Our kids responded to the challenge, especially on defense."
The Huskies welcome Milwaukee Marshall at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29 at the West Allis Athletic Field in their final game before Greater Metro Conference play begins next week.
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