Plenty of potential was shown by the West Allis Hale football team in its 2013 season opener on Saturday despite a 28-14 loss to Lake Geneva Badger.
Head coach Brandon Ehret said his team put up a strong effort against a Badger squad that returns many players from last year's WIAA Division 1 state semifinalists.
"Badger is a very good football team with a lot of starters back," Ehret said. "They are physical and big, but our kids responded well."
Hale rallies late
The Huskies, in fact, pulled within 21-14 with 2 minutes, 14 seconds left in the game when wide receiver Jeff Schubert hauled in a 12-yard scoring pass from quarterback Joe Jo Breznik.
Hale attempted an onside kick, but Badger recovered and went on to score again, making the final margin 14 points.
The Huskies were efficient on offense as Breznik completed 17 of 33 passes for 162 yards and the touchdown to Schubert, and running back Joe Werner collected 104 yards and a score on 20 carries for a 5.2-yard average.
Besides Schubert, Breznik's top receiving targets were Sam Michalski with nine catches for 66 yards and Ben Daniels with three for 40 yards.
"We had a lot of people step up," Ehret said. "Breznik was making his first varsity start and Michalski his first start at receiver, and they both played well. We were able to move the ball consistently, especially in the second half, when we had some sustained drives."
Hale's problem was finishing those drives, as the Huskies made three other trips inside the Badger 20 but came away with no points.
"Our drives stalled, as we turned it over on downs twice and had one blocked field goal," the coach said.
The two drives that Hale completed ended with the late pass to Schubert and a 10-yard run by Werner in the first quarter that gave the Huskies a temporary 7-6 lead.
On defense, linebacker Nick Mand collected 14 tackles while forcing and recovering fumbles; linebacker Jordan Riche totaled 10 tackles, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble, and defensive back Jordan Cox and linebacker Chris Martinez each nine tackles.
Linebacker Tyler Millikin made an interception and cornerback Devon Kopet also collected a turnover as the Huskies forced four Badger miscues.
Hale could not stop Badger back Andrew Allen, who rambled for 241 yards on the day.
"He is a wrecking ball, and he gets downfield fast," Ehret said.
Visit Cedarburg on Friday
The Huskies next visit Cedarburg at 7 p.m. Aug. 30. The Bulldogs opened their season with a 51-33 loss at Greendale on Aug. 22.
Cedarburg has plenty of offensive firepower as junior quarterback Mike Mojica threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, junior receiver Jonathan Stiever caught six passes for 141 yards, and senior running back Hudson Walton collected 132 yards on the ground.
The Bulldogs were undone by four crucial second-half turnovers, each of which Greendale converted into touchdowns.
"It doesn't get any easier," Ehret said, "but we just want to continue to make strides."
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