Westosha Central’s Jason Castona (3) struggles to get away from the Burlington defense during last week’s 32-26 loss to the Demons. Photo by Jennifer Eisenbart

By Dan Truttschel

Sports Correspondent

The Burlington football team jumped out quickly in its Southern Lakes Conference contest with visiting Westosha Central Friday night.

And the Falcons never could recover from there.

Burlington built a 25-7 first-half lead before Central rallied to within six points, but that was as close as the Falcons would come in a 32-26 loss.

Central fell to 1-2 in the SLC and 1-4 overall.

“Give a lot of credit to their kids and their offensive line for rebounding from what I’m sure was a disappointing loss against Waterford (the previous week),” Central coach Scott Mirkes said.

“They came out and established that old school mentality of ‘three yards and a cloud of dust.’ That (description) really fits here.”

Mirkes said his team didn’t appear ready to play at the start of the game.

“I was disappointed with our first half, just our intensity level and where we were at as far as expecting to be competitive,” he said. “I take responsibility for that.

“The second half, I thought we played a much better football game and more like I thought we would play. Our coaching staff did a good job of making adjustments at halftime.”

The Falcons put together a furious second-half rally to make the game interesting.

Aaron Fincher scored his third touchdown of the night on a 14-yard pass from Tyler Stoxen that pulled Central to within six points at 32-26 with less than a minute remaining.

The Falcons attempted an onside kick from there, but the Demons recovered the ball and were able to run out the clock.

“It really shouldn’t have come down to an onside kick at the end to take care of business,” Mirkes said. “(But) we put ourselves in a position where an onside kick meant something, which is good.”

Fincher, who rushed for 65 yards on 10 carries, scored the Falcons’ only first-half touchdown on a 29-yard run. At the time, that pulled Central to within three points at 10-7, but Burlington added 15 more points before the intermission.

Central got on the scoreboard first in the second half when Stoxen and Neave connected on a 19-yard pass. Burlington answered with a touchdown before Fincher caught a 6-yard pass from Stoxen.

Mirkes was pleased with Fincher’s effort.

“Certainly, with all the attention that gets paid to Jason (Castona), we need those other pieces to step up and for teams to have to worry about them,” he said.

“We can use Aaron in some different spots and utilize the different talents that he has. I was pleased with that.”

For the game, the Falcons finished with 16 first downs, 97 yards rushing and 201 yards passing. Burlington had 21 first downs, 183 yards rushing and 141 through the air.

Castona led the receiving corps with seven catches for 145 yards. Stoxen completed 11 of 28 passes for 201 yards.

The Falcons need to find a way to rid themselves of starting games slowly, Mirkes said.

“That slow start has plagued us in quite a few games,” he said. “Either we come out like gang busters or we kind of feel things around, are a little tentative and kind of tip toe around to figure out how the game is going to go.

“In this conference this year, that usually doesn’t work out quite so well.”

Central looks to get back on track this week – but it won’t be easy – as it travels to Waterford to face the Wolverines.

Waterford improved to 2-1 in the SLC and 4-1 overall with a dominating 46-0 win over Elkhorn last week.

The Wolverines recently lost quarterback Zach Fisher to a knee injury but haven’t missed a beat, Mirkes said.

“It’s going to be a very similar game to Badger, where you know they’re pretty dynamic and potent offensively,” he said. “They have three outstanding backs. In other ways, they are more dangerous without (Fisher).

“They aren’t going to need to score many points to win any game they’re in. Their defense is really good. They fly around.”

 
 

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