Spartans' defense keys victory over Milwaukee Marauders
Tosa to host first-place Burlington on Saturday
The Wauwatosa Spartans jumped off to a 14-0 first-half lead and then hung on for a 14-6 win against the Milwaukee Marauders in a key Ironman Football League contest Sunday at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin.
The win puts the Spartans in a tie for second place in the American Conference at 2-2. The loss drops the Marauders to second place as well. The Spartans host the Burlington Blue Devils, current leaders in the conference (3-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wisconsin Lutheran's Raabe Field.
The offense started quickly for the Spartans as quarterback Mikey Bernal connected with wide receiver Matt Cerra for a touchdown pass early in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
The Spartan defense then took over and forced several three and outs, while the Spartans' offense saw several long drives stall with fumbles.
Then late in the second quarter, the Spartans defense got a big play when linebacker Jeremiah Fendrick intercepted Shannon King's pass with two minutes left in the half.
The Spartans seized the opportunity and drove down the field and scored when Bernal connected with wide receiver Ric Levy on a slant pass to make it 14-0 at the half.
Both defenses stepped up in the second half.
Early in the third quarter, Bernal fumbled an exchange and the Marauders were able to recover and score, making it 14-6, after a failed two-point conversion attempt. But from there on, the Spartans' defense took over and stopped the Marauders.
The defense contained the elusive King and former Wisconsin Badger running back Booker Stanley.
With three minutes remaining in the game, the Spartans got the ball back after another strong defensive stand and were able to convert a couple first downs and drive to the Marauders' 2-yard line, where they went into the victory formation to end the game.
Bernal finished with 120 yards on 8-for-15 passing. Running back Cedric McFadden rushed for 65 yards in 10 carries, and Levy had four catches for 65 yards.
At the game Saturday, former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler will be on hand signing autographs in support of his breast cancer foundation. Autographs are $10, and the Spartans will donate $1 for every ticket sold. All proceeds will go to the foundation to support the fight against breast cancer.
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