Big runs boost Muskego football team to 42-6 romp over Oconomowoc
Balanced attack paces Muskego
Once again, the Muskego football team did what it does best — run the ball.
"Muskego football, that's who we are," head coach Ken Krause said. "We traditionally have great linemen and we have great backs."
The Warriors, though, put a bit of a twist on that theme on Aug. 29 in a 42-6 triumph over Oconomowoc.
Their running attack was not just 'three yards and a cloud of dust,' as they mixed in a number of big plays, especially in an explosive first half.
They scored on runs of 42, 60 and 57 yards and added a couple more big gainers along the way.
Hard work pays off
"We worked very hard in the offseason," Krause said. "It's paying off. I thought there was some good physicality tonight. Our running backs ran some people over, we blocked real well. I'm happy that all their offseason work is getting some paydays for them."
The Warriors also have the luxury of a deep and balanced attack, as six different backs — Colin O'Neill, James Schwabe, Brett Finke, Ryan Borton, Ayden Malcomson and Jacob Aperi — scored touchdowns.
"We've joked around with the kids and we've called them 'the six horsemen,'" Krause said. "We have six backs who are all good, and they all kind of have their own unique gifts. That was pretty neat that they all got a chance to score."
O'Neill led the way with 169 yards on the ground in eight carries for a 21.1 yard average, while Schwabe added 86 yards in 12 tries and Finke 86 yards in four attempts (a 21.5 average). Malcomson ran five times for 74 yards.
"We've been working in the offseason a lot, hitting the weight room hard," Finke said. "We've got six strong running backs, so we don't get tired out there. We can pound the ball on every play.
"We've got a nice big line. They work harder than us most days. It's all them; we can only run behind them."
Big plays early
Run they did, starting with the opening drive of the game.
Schwabe started with runs of 10 and 17 yards, then Finke rolled to his right side, bounced off a tackler and sprinted into the open for a 42-yard score. The extra point by Aleksandar Prpa made it 7-0 with just one minute elapsed.
After an Oconomowoc punt, the Warriors moved 57 yards in six plays. Outside of a 32-yard burst from O'Neill, they worked more methodically and scored on a 6-yard run by Schwabe, building the lead to 14-0 with 5 minutes, 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
"Muskego's a physical team," Oconomowoc head coach Ryan McMillen said. "They're older than they were last year. A lot of their linemen and interior guys returned, and they've got some nice players.
"I give them a lot of credit. They played hard. They ground and pound. They did what they do, and they did it well tonight."
After the Schwabe score, the Raccoons put together two first downs when quarterback Jason Brandl hit a couple of passes. The drive stalled at the Oconomowoc 42 as Sam White broke through for a sack, one of five for the Warriors on the night.
Muskego's next drive began at the Warriors' 32, and they went back to the big play. O'Neill rumbled to his right and burst down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown. The point made it 21-0 with 1:14 remaining in the first.
The Raccoons then went on their best drive of the night, with some help from Muskego.
Oconomowoc was on its own 5-yard line and punted from the end zone, but the Warriors were called for running into the kicker, creating a first down at the 20.
The Raccoons took full advantage, marching 80 yards. Brett Samson ran five times for 50 yards and caught a pass for 16 more. Samson bolted 24 yards up the middle for the score to cut it to 21-6. A bad snap spoiled the point after attempt, though.
Muskego answered with a 57-yard scoring run from Malcomson and took a 28-6 lead into halftime.
Early in the second half, Oconomowoc stopped the Warriors in the red zone. The Raccoons ended up punting but regained the ball when the return was fumbled at the Oconomowoc 40.
Oconomowoc drove to the Muskego 6 but turned the ball over on downs on a 4th-and-1 play.
The Warriors then marched 94 yards in 12 plays to put away the game, with Borton tallying on an 8-yard run.
Aperi closed out the scoring with a 9-yard run early in the fourth period.
Muskego's defense held strong throughout the game, with Austin Lambrecht collecting two sacks and White, Borton and Calden Ryg each one.
"I'd really like to compliment Jim Michlig, our defensive coordinator," Krause said. "We went with a new defense this year, the 3-3 stack. It fits our kids a little better. We're a little less predictable on defense, and I think that was part of the reason for the sacks.
"Give coach Michlig a lot of credit for putting that new defense in and getting it organized."
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