Both the Brown Deer and Greenfield football teams displayed heart and character Friday night in a key Woodland Conference East battle. But only the Falcons had junior quarterback Zack Baun.
For after the Hustlin' Hawks Tyler Dorfner burst up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown with 8:28 left to give Greenfield its first lead of the night at 27-24, Baun worked some of his characteristic magic.
He broke a few tackles on a run up the middle and then burst into the open for a 67-yard TD run that gave Brown Deer the lead for good at the 7:17 mark.
"I see the opening, try to visualize it and then get through it before it closes," said Baun. "It was fun tonight. The crowd was crazy, and I could see the team light up. It (that touchdown) really gave us a spark of energy."
Then after the defense, keyed by a 10-yard corner blitz sack by Nick Coleman, made a key stop, Baun sealed the deal by closing out a seven-play drive with a 28-yard dance around the edge to make it 38-27 with 2:43 to go.
In the end, the Falcons celebrated their homecoming with a 40-27 victory as Baun would finish with 231 yards rushing on 21 carries as well as 144 yards passing on seven completions. The Falcons improved to 6-1 overall heading into the Woodland Conference crossover next week against Western Division champ Greendale, while Greenfield fell to 3-4
"He's as good as advertised, a real Tim Tebow-type," said Greenfield coach Scott Otto of Baun. "Give him credit. We got that lead and we still had a chance but the kid made a play (the 67-yarder).
"Our kids showed real mettle tonight. We have 22 seniors and they just don't quit."
They didn't even after the Falcons took a 17-0 first quarter lead on their home turf.
Junior David Hubbard took a punt after the Hustlin' Hawks first possession and raced 39 yards for a score just 1:39 into the game. A series later, Baun used his arm to get the job done, hitting a wide open Nyles Williams down the middle on a perfectly thrown pass. Williams did the rest in finishing the 73-yard TD to make it 14-0 at the 6:21 mark of the first quarter.
A play later, the Falcons' Donovan Lucas, who had a big game at defensive back, picked off a Jeremy Swider pass at the Brown Deer 41.
Nine plays later, Brown Deer kicker Gerry Gilles nailed a 25-yard field goal to make it 17-0 Falcons with 2:04 left in the first.
Otto was understandably frustrated.
"We knew that Baun was going to get his; he's just too good to stop all the time," said Otto. "But you can't give them points off a punt return, off a turnover. They're a good team. You just can't spot them 17 points like that."
The Hustlin' Hawks made hay running up the middle, gaining 323 yards on 54 carries as a team led by Dorfner's 210 on 22 tries. A 10-play drive finished with Eric Suminski's 20-yard run for score at the 10:23 mark of the second quarter.
Brown Deer was down a couple of two-way linemen/linebackers due to injury.
But as Otto noted, Baun will get his and he did again with just under four minutes to go in the half, hitting a crease down the left side for 54 yards to make it 24-7.
The West Bend transfer, who now has well over 1,000-yards rushing and double-digit touchdowns on the season, said he's just happy to help.
"I just want to do something for the team," he said. "It's been a lot of fun since I've got here. The community has been very welcoming and the football atmosphere is incredible."
The game itself was about to get incredible, as the Hustlin' Hawks showed a little resolve right before the half, going 59 yards in 10 plays and cutting the deficit to 24-14 on a three-yard Xavier Copeland run just 11 seconds before the break.
"The kids showed a lot character and smarts getting down there that quickly," Otto said. "That helped keep the game close."
It did, as the Brown Deer offense stalled in the third quarter, and Greenfield was able to close the gap to 24-20 on an eight-yard run by Copeland with 6:18 left in the third. Copeland would contribute 73 yards rushing on 12 tries.
The score stayed that way until early in the fourth, when a fumbled punt gave the Hawks a chance on the Falcons 45. They didn't waste the opportunity going the distance in just four plays as Dorfner got his go-ahead TD on a play right up the gut and virtually untouched.
Brown Deer then showed its heart. After Baun's go-ahead score, Coleman made a huge play to sack Swider for a 10-yard loss.
"That play felt great," said Coleman, who had trouble handling the punt earlier. "I really wanted to be able to contribute on defense."
The Hawks had to punt, and the Brown Deer offense did the rest.
"The kids work very hard," said Otto. "I just wish we could have more good things to say to them at the end of some of these games."
While the Falcons, who had to do some substantial reloading at the end of last season, are finishing games just fine.
"When we want to move the ball and the offensive line is motivated, we can do some things," said Brown Deer co-coach Andy Green to the team afterward.
Then Green's brother Rob, also a co-coach of the team, emphasized the point of having fun and taking the high road over the homecoming weekend.
"Be good to people," he said, "because now we have our two biggest games, likely Greendale and Pewaukee, which is exactly what we want. We want to be playing the best teams on the biggest stage at the end."
Both Baun and Coleman will be going to the homecoming dance Saturday night. Coleman said he was going to go with some friends, while Baun, ever the quarterback, noted that he had a date.
"We needed to impress the fans before we could go," said Coleman.
The Falcons did.
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