Senior quarterback Zach Damico accounted for six total touchdowns, including four through the air, as host Brookfield East overcame a sloppy second half to defeat West Allis Hale 45-17 in a Greater Metro Conference football game Friday night.
East (3-3, 2-2) raced out to an early homecoming-game lead behind two quick Damico touchdown strikes, including a leaping 28-yard scoring reception by senior Cole Larson and a toss to a wide-open Nate Schieble to make it 17-0 Brookfield East with 1:59 left in the first quarter.
Damico would find Schieble open again for a 20-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to put East up 24-3, taking advantage of Hale's game plan to limit the Spartans' rushing attack.
"He (Damico) is a heck of a runner," said Hale head coach Brandon Ehret. "We game-planned for his running all week, and then he was able to hurt us over the top a few times."
Hale (1-5, 1-3) would pull to within 24-10 as junior receiver Nathan Scherer made his man miss in the flat for a 14-yard touchdown reception.
A pair of long Damico touchdown runs, including a 45-yarder, gave the host Spartans a 38-10 halftime lead.
Damico finished with 232 passing yards and 170 on the ground. The Huskies were also hurt by senior running back Gerald Childs, who rushed for 144 yards on 18 carries.
"We really tried to push tempo and run as many plays as we could on offense," said Brookfield East head coach Tom Swittel. "We felt that our athletes on offense could take advantage of their athletes on defense."
Hale would respond with a spirited defensive effort in the second half as the Huskies tried to get back into the game.
With their backs against the wall, the Huskies twice stuffed Brookfield East on fourth down at its own 1-yard line to keep the game competitive.
Following the first goal-line stand, Hale quarterback Joe Jo Breznik found Scherer down the left sideline for an 84-yard touchdown pass that brought the Huskies to within 38-17.
Breznik finished with 152 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with two interceptions.
Late drive stalls
The second defensive stand opened the door slightly for the Huskies, but Hale's grueling subsequent 21-play drive, aided by a roughing the punter and fourth-down pass interference penalty against East, would stall out at the Spartans' 13-yard line, effectively ending the Huskies' comeback hopes.
Hale will now look to build on its solid second half, particularly on defense, when it travels to Sussex Hamilton (3-3) at 7 p.m. Oct. 4.
"I thought our team responded and really battled after halftime," said Ehret.
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