After a string of frustrating defeats, the Whitnall football team finally broke through with a victory Friday, blanking Pius XI, 16-0.
The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Falcons, who had scored only 24 points in those three games and had lost leads on several occasions.
Whitnall was the only one of the six teams in the Woodland Conference East Division to beat its counterpart from the West.
The Falcons played strong defense, holding the Popes to just 37 yards rushing, while rolling up 285 yards on the ground themselves.
"We were able to maintain possession and keep the ball away from Pius," head coach Jeff Wallack said.
Max Anderer led the rushing game with 148 yards in 24 carries, an average of 6.2 per attempt, and tallied both touchdowns.
Nick Monty added 61 yards for Whitnall.
"We saw that Pius had trouble defending the sweep all season," Wallack said. "We didn't do anything fancy; we just kept running the sweep, and they couldn't stop it."
Quarterback Tyler Merritt was efficient, completing five of nine passes for 74 yards. Michael Langenohl caught four tosses for 61 yards.
The Falcons defense was solid, as it has been all season. Michael Kremer collected nine tackles, while Drake Ambroch totaled seven, Joe Alexopoulos six and Kaiser Kastner five.
Ambroch also made an interception, and Kremer and Jerime Hetzel each sacked Pius quarterback Jalen Fischer.
After a scoreless first quarter, Anderer tallied from 4 yards out in the second, with Tyler Regeth kicking the extra point. That 7-0 lead stood at halftime.
The Falcons added a safety in the third period, and Anderer put away the game with an 8-yard run in the fourth.
Whitnall closes the season at New Berlin West at 7 p.m. Friday. The Vikings have plenty of incentive, as they need a victory to stay alive in the WIAA playoff picture.
The Falcons will try to continue to create momentum toward next season.
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