Menomonee Falls - In this up-and-down season, the Menomonee Falls football team has been looking for big plays anywhere it can find them.
And the Indians got a couple of them in short order on Sept. 14, when it was tied 14-all in the third quarter with a determined West Allis Central team.
Junior kicker Anthony Russo bombed a punt that stopped at the Bulldog 1-yard line, and then shortly thereafter the Indians forced a fumble and recovered deep inside Central territory.
A few plays later, stout senior fullback Rajaee Vasser plowed his way in from five yards out, giving Falls a 21-14 lead and a head of steam toward an important 28-14 Greater Metro Conference victory.
"It just shows you have to have all facets of your game going in order to get a win in this league," said Indians coach John Baker. "The talent is just too good to have a letdown in any area."
The victory improved Falls to 2-1 in GMC play and 2-2 overall. The Indians' only two losses this season have been to unbeaten teams (Oak Creek and Brookfield East) and now a third one comes visiting at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in the form of powerful archrival Sussex Hamilton (3-0, 4-0).
The Chargers have blasted all opposition with a nearly unstoppable run game led by back Drew Patterson, who had a preposterous 258 yards on just 17 carries in a 51-17 rout of West Allis Hale on Sept. 14.
"They're just playing very well," said Baker. "They're disciplined and they're fast. We've got to be very sound if we want to have a chance."
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The Indians gave themselves a chance by adapting their offense a bit, slipping senior back Justin Johnson out to a receiver position and putting speedster Cole Hernikl in the same backfield with the erstwhile linebacker Vasser.
The change was also precipitated by the fact that speedy halfback Christian Almonte had to miss the second half with a mild concussion.
The Bulldogs (0-3, 0-4) hit the Indians first with a first-quarter TD, but Falls bounced back to tie the score in the second period on a 17-yard Adam Vechart to Johnson scoring pass. Baker said that Johnson ran a great route and made a nice break on the ball.
Baker said that Vechart is getting better and better every day.
Early in the third quarter, the two teams traded scores as Vasser gave Falls the lead with a 2-yard rumble to see Central come back and tie the score.
Then came Russo's kick and a change of momentum.
The Indians ground out the clinching drive in the fourth quarter as Vasser broke open the game with 1-yard TD run on a fourth and goal play.
"Central came out and played a great first half while we were a little flat," said Baker. "The second half was much better as a whole. It was a very physical game."
Baker said that Hernikl was instrumental in giving the Indians great field position all night with nice kick returns and he noted that end Dan Dahlke had a nice game from his receiver's slot too.
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