By Dan Truttschel~ Sports Correspondent

For at least part of Friday night’s Southern Lakes Conference contest against visiting Burlington, the Westosha Central football team was able to trade punches with the Demons.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, the first time they didn’t, Burlington was right there to take advantage.

The Demons held a 21-0 lead before the Falcons finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, but it wasn’t nearly enough to avoid a 35-14 SLC setback. The loss dropped Central to 1-2 in conference play and 1-3 overall.

“The big difference (in the game) was their ability to score every time they touched the ball, and our offense feeling we had to match them score for score,” Central coach Scott Mirkes said.

“We moved the ball effectively for most of the night, but a majority of penalties were offensive and wiped out large positive gains. It’s tough to continually overcome those types of miscues.”

Central running back Austin Feeney put the Falcons on the scoreboard with an 8-yard run at the 8:27 mark of the third quarter. That score cut the deficit to 14 points, but Burlington answered right back on a 5-yard scoring strike from Jayden Essman to Kasey Solofra.

Feeney tried to keep his team close with a 3-yard touchdown run at the 1:22 mark, but those were the last points the Falcons would score.

Burlington closed out the game on the third touchdown pass from Essman to Solofra, this time on a 7-yard strike with 8:15 left in the ballgame.

Finding running lanes in the Burlington defense was difficult all night, Mirkes said.

But that was only one factor in his team’s inability to effectively run the football.

“I think we got away from and did not execute our offensive game plan, myself included,” he said. “We had a great plan that the kids were prepared to execute, and we got back to it as we started the second half.

“We played as well offensively in the second half as we have at any point in the year.”

With the running game bottled up, the Falcons turned to the passing attack and had significant success there. Central quarterback Tyler Stoxen completed 13 of 21 passes for 180 yards, including eight to Luke Millhouse for 119 yards.

“They put seven and eight in the box, so we took what they gave us,” Mirkes said. “We missed a few throws that we could have connected on but didn’t. We’ll work on our execution throughout the week and be better come Friday night.”

Stoxen also rushed for a team-high 41 yards on 12 carries, while Feeney had 17 carries for 36 yards and three receptions for 34.

Burlington’s Chad Redmer led all running backs with 147 yards on 22 attempts.

The challenge becomes even greater this week, as Central prepares to host Waterford Friday night. The Wolverines, who shared last year’s SLC title with Badger and Wilmot, ran their record to 3-0 with a 20-13 win over Elkhorn last week.

“They’re big, physical and aggressive on both sides of the ball, probably as good on both lines as anyone in the SLC,” Mirkes said. “They might have lost some quick-strike playmakers on the offensive side (from last year), but I think they’re more balanced and efficient, very much like Badger in that respect.”


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