Sussex - As impressive as the state-of-the-art scoreboard installed by project mastermind Tom Blackwell, athletic director Mike Gosz and the rest of Hamilton Nation, the Chargers were just as sharp. And then some.
Setting aside the potent running game Sussex Hamilton head football coach John Damato has at his disposal, Friday's 38-21 thrashing of Brookfield Central will forever be the "pick three game" for senior defensive back Jake Knueppel.
Knueppel got Hamilton's varsity football team pointed in the right direction on the first series of the night when the Lancers (2-1, 1-1 in the Greater Metro Conference) were on the move. He intercepted a pass from junior Riley Richarz and raced 95 yards for a touchdown, the first of five on the night for the hosts at Stan Grove Field. He ended up with three interceptions during the game.
Grove, the former football coach at Hamilton for whom the field is named, couldn't fathom three interceptions on this day, or if it ever happened at Hamilton on any day.
"I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened in one game and positive it didn't happen with a 95-yard return for a score," Grove said. "He had a heck of a night."
Junior Drew Patterson had four touchdowns in the game, rushing 16 times for 129 yards. He caught just one pass, but it was a big one, a 47-yard touchdown late in the first half. The Chargers were ahead heading into the fourth quarter, 38-7, and took control of the Greater Metro Conference title chase in resounding fashion.
Brookfield Central got touchdowns in the fourth quarter from junior Jake Knetter and senior Marcus Crum.
Knueppel's eyes got wide once his buddy, senior Joe Michaelson, took care of business.
"Last week I had an interception but got tackled when I tried to go down the sideline," Knueppel said. "Tonight I followed Joe, who rocked a guy up the middle. After he made that block, I knew I had a chance for a touchdown if I didn't run out of gas."
Junior Damario Harris scored the Lancers' other touchdown, a 21-yard run up the middle on fourth and two in the second quarter. Tackling leaders for the Chargers included Cory Caliendo, Kevin Zarske and Michaelson. Chargers head coach John Damato spoke volumes about his team's rendition on Friday.
"Our line played outstanding on both sides of the ball," Damato said. "Things went our way tonight, and we kept them on their heels. We had sustained drives on offense and, wow, the play of our defense was incredible. Jake Knueppel had a great game, leading us."
The Chargers have now knocked off the other two tri-champs in last year's GMC (along with a win over Marquette two weekends ago). But battles against West Allis Hale on Friday and Menomonee Falls on Sept. 21 won't be easy.
Grove had a final thought.
"The scoreboard is absolutely beyond incredible, but I don't want to take anything away from the team coach Damato has this season," Grove said. "They're every bit as impressive."
Kickers win twice in quad
Hamilton's boys soccer team ran into Brookfield East on Sept. 5, and the talented Spartans defeated Hamilton in a Greater Metro Conference game, 8-1.
Once the Spartans were ahead 3-0, it was all Brookfield East.
"Their talent and experience took over in the second half," Hamilton head coach Steve Provan said.
Brent Reilly scored the goal for Hamilton with the assist going to Taylor Paepke.
On Friday in the Milwaukee Pius Quad, the Chargers battled back to defeat La Crosse Aquinas in the opening round, 5-4.
Drew Witlacil scored the game-winner with 30 seconds to play on an assist from Joe Ammel. Garrett Lee scored the game-tying goal, heading in a cross from Connor Leuty.
Bret Harvestine scored twice. Tyler Wischnefski had the first goal of the match for the Chargers.
"This was a breakthrough victory for our team as this was the first time the team was able to fight through adversity and come back to achieve victory," Provan said.
Against Onalaska on Saturday, the Chargers defeated the Hilltoppers, 3-0. Lee had the first goal of the game on an assist by Harvestine, who had the second goal assisted by Witlacil. Lee finished off scoring with a header goal.
"The defense, led by Noah Gall, did a superb job holding Onalaska scoreless," Provan said. "Mike Badalamante made an excellent save in the first half to turn away Onalaska on their most threatening chance."
Overall, Hamilton is 6-5, including a 1-3 standing in the Greater Metro Conference.
Golfers sixth at mini meet
The Hamilton girls golf team finished in sixth place at Bristlecone Pines on Sept. 6. Brookfield Central won the Greater Metro Conference mini meet for a third consecutive time.
Brookfield Central shot 167 as a team. Hamilton finished with 210.
Sami Williams shot 92 while Megan Anthony finished with 94 and Kelsey Kempen totaled 97. Julia Birch had 100 while Paige Brandt ended up with 103 and Claire LoCicero totaled 108.
Christine Tang shot 72 for Brookfield Central.
One week earlier, Hamilton had what veteran head coach Randy Howard called a "fairly quiet week."
The Chargers were at Currie Park in the second Greater Metro Conference mini meet, finishing last despite a respectable team total of 192.
Williams and Anthony each shot 46. Kempen finished with 49, and Birch and Brandt both came in at 51.
"Our ball striking and course management has improved tremendously, but as a team, we have not putted well and leave many great scoring opportunities on the course," Howard said.
Everyone involved remains focused on the task at hand.
"We are practicing hard every day, and all of the 23 girls are striving to improve and make themselves better golfers," Howard said. "It's a great group to work with, and I see better scores on the horizon."
Tennis downed by Brookfield East
After Hamilton's girls tennis team defeated West Allis in a Greater Metro Conference match, 4-3, the Chargers ran into Brookfield East on Sept. 5, falling to the Spartans 7-0.
At No. 2 singles, Frances Weiss was able to push her opponent to three sets. Danielle Falvey had the same story at No. 3 singles.
Hamilton hitters victorious
Hamilton's girls volleyball team defeated West Allis Central on Sept. 6 in three sets, 25-17, 25-16, 25-18.
Abby Purfuerst had 10 kills for the Chargers. Hannah Jasinski and Jessica Jablonski each had four blocks, and Lisa Walsh finished with 12 digs.
Tori Speckin had 13 assists for Hamilton.
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