By Dan Truttschel Sports Correspondent

When the chips are down, the Westosha Central football team knows it can usually turn to senior quarterback Tyler Stoxen to make something happen.

But if last week is any indication, he’s not the only one who can step it up when the time is right.

Stoxen accounted for two key touchdowns in the middle of the game, but the Falcons also got a huge contribution from running back Austin Feeney in a 34-20 Southern Lakes Conference win at Union Grove.

The victory improved the Falcons to 1-1 and 1-0 in the SLC, while Union Grove fell to 0-2 and 0-1 in conference play.

“We came out and executed our game plan,” Central coach Scott Mirkes said. “Obviously, we still have things to clean up, improve on and get better, but we got better from week one to week two. I think that’s a goal that every team has, to make sure you’re taking enough steps forward.”

Central took an early lead on a 59-yard touchdown run by Luke Millhouse, but the Broncos responded in the second quarter to cut the deficit to just one point.

From there, Stoxen went to work. He connected on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Koenig, and then took off on a 28-yard run to the end zone to rebuild the Falcons’ lead to 21-6.

“Overall, (Stoxen) had a real good control of where we were going offensively,” Mirkes said. “He took what he was given and stayed within our game plan.”

Mirkes said the early touchdown by Millhouse and the later scores by Feeney helped Stoxen realize the burden to score wasn’t all on his shoulders.

“(The first touchdown) was somebody other than Tyler who was doing the work,” Mirkes said. “There were other guys who were carrying their fair share of the load.

“That kind of helped Tyler out a little bit. He doesn’t have to do everything. We have other guys who are certainly capable of carrying us and getting us points in a game or throughout the season.”

Central added to its lead in the fourth quarter on a pair of touchdown runs by Feeney, first from four yards out, followed by a 1-yard score with just 1:18 left in the contest.

The Broncos scored a late touchdown to account for the final score, but it wasn’t nearly enough to complete the comeback.

For the game, the Falcons had 100 yards passing and rushed 44 times for 314 yards. Union Grove had 155 yards through the air and 140 on the ground on 32 attempts.

Stoxen completed six of 14 passing attempts for 100 yards, while Feeney rushed 22 times for 141 yards. Stoxen also rushed 19 times for 111 yards, while Millhouse caught three passes for 61 yards.

Feeney’s effort on the ground stood out, Mirkes said.

“He ran like we thought he was capable of running,” Mirkes said. “I’m sure he would be the first to credit the offensive line and our ‘Falcon’ back. They were physical all night long.

“Union Grove has some big kids. I was impressed physically with their size. They have some bigger kids are who are pretty solid, especially at defensive tackle. … Austin ran hard all night and got stronger as the game went along.”

Central looks to build on its momentum this week with a difficult early-season challenge Friday night at Badger. The Badgers won their first game of the year last week with a 33-12 decision over Burlington.

Mirkes knows Badger, considered one of the favorites in the SLC, will give his team all it can handle.

But he’s also confident the Falcons will travel to Lake Geneva and put up a tough fight all night long.

“Our kids are looking forward to competing with one of the premier programs in the conference the last 10 years,” Mirkes said. “It will be a good marker of where we are in the conference and what work we still have to do.

“We need to focus on getting better from week two to week three. If we do that, we like our chances to be competitive, and hopefully, in the end, we’re able to pull it out in our favor.”

 

 

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