New Berlin West used a strong running attack behind Bryan Watson, Casey Bedwell and Preston Porter to whip St. Francis, 45-18, on Friday at home.
The win improved the Vikings’ record to 2-4 in the Woodland Conference Blue Division (2-5 overall), moved them up to fourth place and dropped the Mariners (1-5, 2-5) into fifth place in the six-team division.
“It’s a huge victory,” West coach Aaron Mack said. “It shows two things. When we play talent that is even to ours, we’ve shown what we can do and come out on top with the exception of the Cudahy game. That is a credit to the kids. It shows they are buying into what we’re doing.”
The Vikings led, 20-6, at intermission remained up 14 after three quarters but then blew away St. Francis with an impressive 19-6 fourth period.
Rushing the football dominated the offensive attacks on both sides, as St. Francis’ Saquan Dowery rushed 32 times for 238 yards (7.4 yards per carry) to lead all runners, but he couldn’t overcome West’s dynamic trio.
Watson rushed for 163 yards on only seven carries (23.3) with a touchdown, while Bedwell added 152 yards on 20 carries (7.6) and a score as the Vikings rushed for 410 yards.
“Casey set the tempo with his physical running early on,” Mack said. “Then we got balance with Watson, Porter and Adrian Peil.
“I had a good feeling Porter was going to do some things with his legs, and he made some great decisions throwing the ball," Mack added. "We were really balanced more than anything. “It was our O-line’s best game. They set the tempo. We were more physical and a lot of credit goes to the line (Alex Cranfill, Brett Connors, Spencer Stanfield, Justin Roundtree, Adam Linssen) for buying into the game plan.”
Porter from his quarterback spot was the difference-maker, rushing for 86 yards on eight carries (10.8) and three scores. He was 4-for-10 for 46 yards and two touchdown passes.
Both teams exchanged scores in the first period, as Bedwell rushed for a 24-yard score followed by Eddie Guizar booting the extra point. Dowery then scored on a 5-yard but, but West blocked the point-after attempt.
Porter then took control by hitting Adrian Peil with a 25-yard score, but this time the Mariners blocked Guizar’s kick with 2:56 left in the half.
The Mariners tried to fake a punt on the next series but threw the ball out of bounds, and West took over and Porter scored on a 13-yard run.
Both teams came out and basically repeated the third period, as St. Francis’ Robert Kowalczyk scored on a 1-yard run and Porter countered with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Bedwell for a 26-12 lead. Both kicks failed.
But then the Vikings scored three times to the Mariners’ one in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
With 11:35 in the final period, Watson exploded for a 77-yard touchdown, and Porter scored on a 1-yard run at 8:57 for a 38-12 advantage.
Kowalczyk threw a 9-yard score to Nick Rueda at 4:47, and Porter scored on a 5-yard run to close out the scoring with 3:02 left to play.
Mack also praised his defense for causing red zone turnovers led by Alex McLeod (interception), Keenan Mooney (hit on wide receiver caused fumble), Austin Thompson (forced fumble) and Dylan Somogji (recovered fumble).
The Vikings host second-place Brown Deer (4-2, 4-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“We haven’t thrown in the towel,” Mack said. “I’m proud of our kids. Our seniors to continue to practice. It is not always easy to get that out of seniors. The younger kids get better every week, but it’s an every week thing with them.”
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