MEQUON — For the first quarter, West Bend West battled always-powerful Homestead to a standstill in the North Shore Conference football season opener Friday night.
The Spartans stood in a scoreless tie after twice stopping the Highlanders inside the West 35yard line in the opening quarter.
Eventually, though, Homestead’s talent and depth prevailed, and the Highlanders tallied 35 second-quarter points en route to a 42-0 triumph.
“We talked about it (in the post-game huddle),” West head coach Mitch Draxler said. “It’s a grind when you play these guys. They platoon, they only play offense or only play defense. It’s tough.”
The Spartans, trying to rebound from a winless
2018 season, posted a first down on their opening series when junior quarterback Landon Dott hit senior receiver Mason Wallschlager for a short gain and junior runner Jake Princl ran for six yards.
A sack and an incomplete pass followed, and the Spartans had to punt.
“We get a first down right off the bat and we execute OK,” Draxler said. “Our kids battled hard.”
Homestead drove to the West 31 before turning the ball over on downs. On its next possession, Homestead reached the West 18 before being pushed back by a penalty and had to settle for a 46yard field goal attempt, which fell just short.
The Highlanders finally broke through late in the first quarter, getting several nice runs by senior JJ Covill and scoring on a 2-yard burst by senior quarterback Ian Sheehy on the first play of the second period.
The floodgates then opened, as Homestead scored on its next four possessions to go up 35-0 at the half. That burst included a 50yard scoring toss from Sheehy to senior running back Luke Konik and a 41-yard sprint by Covill to set up an 18-yard touchdown run from junior runner Gray Stueber.
“Would we have liked to have allowed a few less big plays and put some points on the board? Absolutely,” Draxler said. “Assignment-wise, we did all right. We would have liked to have executed a little better. We missed a couple throws, we had a drop. They (the Highlanders) are so tough when they get you in second-and-long. They bring the house.”
Homestead racked up five sacks on Dott in the first half alone, throttling any offensive hopes West may have had. The Highlanders made it 42-0 early in the third period on a 45-yard run by Konik.
West put together a nice drive later in the third quarter, using a Dott pass to sophomore receiver Keegan Tennies and a run by Dott to reach the Highlander 45, but could not sustain the march.
Dott ran for 20 yards and passed for 20 more and Princl collected 25 yards on the ground for
the Spartans. Sheehy passed for 123 yards and Cavill ran for 135 yards for the Highlanders.
“We’re carrying out our assignments all right,” Draxler said. “We just have to execute better. As we go throughout this year, I am confident. Let’s move on, let’s pick ourselves up and go from there.”
The Spartans host Whitefish Bay at 7 p.m. Friday.