There was very little the Menomonee Falls football team could do wrong Friday night when it hosted Wauwatosa East at Schumann Stadium.
The biggest difference in the game came in the trenches where the Indians offensive line cleared the way for 396 yards rushing, including 374 in the first half, as Falls rolled to a 49-0 victory in the Greater Metro Conference opener.
“I thought we got manhandled up front, quite honestly, and that’s where football games are won,” Wauwatosa East coach Mike Richards said, as three different Indians running backs ran for over 100 yards. “They earned every yard.”
After amassing just 142 total yards of offense in its season-opening loss, Falls was looking to get on track offensively.
“Last week the line felt they played a rough game (against Oak Creek),” said senior running back Cole Hernikl, who took the Indians’ first play from scrimmage 72 yards for a score. “They stepped it up tonight.”
Hernikl finished with 107 yards on seven carries.
“It motivates us to keep playing hard,” junior running back Christian Almonte said of the great start. “Once we got that first big play, it was our game.”
The Indians front five, led by center Cameron Green, tackle Dan Bell, guard Jackie DeWalt, guard Joe Laurishke and right tackle Cody Marienthal, were challenged by coach John Baker throughout the week, and he was more than happy with the results.
“They came out played with pride and played physical,” said Baker. “We were in a physical game last week and we felt were letting (Oak Creek) play on our side of the ball. We got after it.”
When Almonte and fellow junior running back Jason Precia were called upon, they did not pass up the opportunities the big guys made for them.
Precia helped turn an interception into a 17-yard touchdown. On the first play of the next Falls possession, he went 88 yards with little to no contact from the Red Raiders defense. He finished with 109 yards on four carries.
Almonte had the most impressive run of the night, when he broke tackles in the middle of the line and changed direction for his first touchdown from 53 yards. The 5-foot-6 Almonte then bettered himself with a 74-yard scamper just before the end of the first half. Almonte finished with 142 yards on four carries.
“The backs made big plays,” said Baker. “They are explosive kids and they are really fun to watch.
“(Almonte) is a shifty little guy and he is starting to get healthy.”
While junior Adam Vechart only threw three passes, two of them went for scores. The first: a catch and run by Justin Johnson from 60 yards. The second was a jumpball Johnson went up and got in the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown, a play which drew praise from Baker when he addressed the team after the game.
After the Red Raiders (1-1) watched the Indians (1-1) go up early, they had a chance to get on the board, but each time were bitten by a turnover that gave the momentum right back to Falls.
“Last week we found ourselves in a 14-0 hole and the kids battled back,” Richards said of his team’s 27-21 overtime win over Delavan-Darien to start the season. “The turnovers took the wind out of our sails.”
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