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Explosive Falcons fly past Mariners

Defense contributes key stops in victory

Sept. 6, 2011

Greenfield - Simply by looking at the final score and some of the statistics of Whitnall's 49-27 victory over St. Francis on Friday night, the conclusion could be made that the Falcons possess a potent offense but have some questions on defense.

After all, the Falcons (2-1 overall) surrendered almost 400 yards of offense to just two St. Francis players, Saquan Dowery with 282 on the ground and quarterback Robert Kowalczyk with 100 through the air.

Whitnall coach Rob Leboeuf, though, feels those statistics don't reflect the true performance of his team's defense.

"We are young; we have some sophomores playing, and we have a new scheme," he said. "We are seeing improvement and we are getting better each week.

"We had a great goal-line stand, where they had six shots inside our five, and we turned them away.

"We made the stops when we had to make them. The defense has times where it is capable of playing the kind of football we want, and at other times, we have mental breakdowns and need improvement on technique."

There are not as many ups and downs with the Falcon's offense, which put up gaudy numbers across the board against St. Francis and has scored 85 points in the last two games after being shut out in the opener.

Quarterback Luke Mentkowski completed 13 of 19 passes for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Dan Weymier caught four passes for 153 yards (an average of 38.2 yards) and Stephen Pelkofer five tosses for 138 yards (27.6 average).

Both had scoring receptions of more than 75 yards.

They were complemented by Travis Karweik, who ran for 223 yards (8.0 average) and four touchdowns.

"This is the second straight week that Luke has led the state in passing yards," Leboeuf said. "The game is slowing down for him, and his reads are improving.

"He also has some talented athletes on the perimeter and in the backfield.

"Travis ran for over 200 yards, and I think all four of our wideouts (Nick Cimler and Sam Mentkowski, along with Weymier and Pelkofer) are good.

"The wideouts and our quarterback are all intelligent kids with grade-point averages over 3.5. They are tremendous competitors and they take academics seriously."

Leboeuf also said his offensive line, despite often playing three sophomores, has been solid.

"The linemen work hard every day improving their technique," he said. "Our success depends on our offensive line. The sprint-out pass protection, in particular, has been good."

Pelkofer got things started against St. Francis (1-2) with a 76-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter on Friday. Karweik burst in from seven yards out as the Falcons held a 14-0 lead after one period.

Karweik scored again from seven yards in the second quarter, but Dowery matched that for the Mariners.

Whitnall led 21-13 at the half.

Weymier hauled in a 77-yard pass from Luke Mentkowski early in the third, but Dowery scored again and the Mariners completed a two-point conversion making the score, 28-21.

Whitnall then put away the game with three straight scores, two runs by Karweik and another from Nick Stojcevic, to go up 49-21 midway through the fourth period.

The Falcons now open their home schedule as well as Woodland Conference Black Division play on Friday against Wauwatosa West (1-2 after Friday's 23-7 loss to Cudahy).

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