Westosha Central’s Austin Fincher runs the ball during last week’s loss at Waterford Union High School. The Falcons lost 49-14, giving up 28 points in the second quarter. Photo by Jennifer Eisenbart

By Dan Truttschel

Sports Correspondent

All signs during the preseason pointed to the Waterford football team as being one of the favorites in the Southern Lakes Conference.

Westosha Central had its chance to see the Wolverines up close and personal last week – and it’s safe to say, the Falcons were impressed.

The Wolverines turned a 14-7 first-quarter lead into a commanding 42-7 advantage at halftime and never looked back in a dominating 49-14 Southern Lakes Conference victory.

Central fell to 1-3 in the SLC and 1-5 overall with the loss, while Waterford improved to 3-1 in conference play and 5-1 overall.

“It’s no secret that Waterford is an outstanding program,” Central coach Scott Mirkes said. “This group of seniors for them is a group they’ve been waiting to get (to the varsity) for a long time.”

Waterford quarterback Zach Fisher returned from injury against the Falcons, which added yet another challenge to their plate.

“Having him back makes a huge difference for them and the things they can do,” Mirkes said. “It’s one more playmaker added to a series of playmakers.”

Waterford drew first blood on a 24-yard first-quarter run by Greg Steffens before the Falcons answered to tie the score at 7-7 on a 1-yard touchdown by quarterback Tyler Stoxen.

From there, however, the rest of the game was all Waterford.

The Wolverines scored five unanswered touchdowns to put the game out of reach. Steffens started the rally with a 2-yard run to break the tie, followed by a 40-yard touchdown pass from Fisher to Ryan Danbrea at the start of the second quarter.

That scoring play quickly switched the momentum to the Wolverines’ sideline, Mirkes said.

“We were playing man (defense) on the edges to get more guys in the box,” Mirkes said. “Their guy made a play. Our guy had good position, but you tip your hat to the playmakers. That signaled the start to a long, long, long period.”

By the time Steffens had his third touchdown of the night on a 5-yard run at the end of the second quarter, Waterford was ahead by 42 points.

Central got back on the scoreboard after the intermission when Stoxen hit Jason Castona with a 43-yard touchdown pass.

Waterford closed the scoring in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Tom Banko.

Central finished the game with 15 first downs and 58 yards rushing, while Waterford had 11 first downs and rushed for 312 yards on 40 attempts.

Castona led the Falcons’ receiving corps with 97 yards on eight catches, while Stoxen completed 15 of 27 passes for 177 yards.

The difference in the two teams wasn’t difficult to spot, Mirkes said.

“It’s time to get to work in the weight room and get down to brass tacks,” he said. “It’s obvious their kids are really committed to getting better in the weight room. Their big guys were ready to go and were big, strong and physical.

“They were a different team on the offensive line than they were in year’s past. They had some athletic, tough, physical kids.”

Central returns to action this Friday night when it hosts Delavan-Darien in a 7 p.m. Homecoming contest. The Comets improved to 3-1 in the SLC and 4-2 overall with a 26-22 win last week over Burlington.

The key to stopping Delavan is finding a way to slow down the Comets’ speed, which they have at several positions, Mirkes said.

“It seems like they’re doing it now with a couple more playmakers,” he said. “They look much more solid defensively across the board. The have some big kids who get after it a little bit.”

Despite last week’s tough loss, Mirkes said he doesn’t sense that his team has given up hope.

Victories in each of the last three weeks will send the Falcons to the playoffs, and that’s the focus right now, he said.

“It’s certainly a challenge, but for our kids, it’s a chance to win two Homecoming games in a row, which hasn’t been done too often,” Mirkes said.

“I don’t think motivation is really going to be an issue the next couple weeks. … The kids haven’t given up on anything. We still know if we run the table we can get into the playoffs.”


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