Brown Deer's Baun runs past Messwood as Falcons edge old rivals, 21-13
Both teams enter league play
It was a welcoming atmosphere at Brown Deer on Friday when old rival Shorewood/Messmer came visiting for a high level nonconference football game.
Brown Deer was showing off its newly refurbished campus and District Administrator Deborah Kerr had an ice cream social going. They had special opening ceremonies for the new elementary school two days before and the middle school the night before and there were tours for anybody who wanted to look around.
"It was a great opportunity for everyone to see what was going on around the campus," Brown Deer coach Rob Green said.
And when they stopped to see the football game, those in attendance were not disappointed either, as the host Falcons had to work hard to fight off the fast-rising Greyhounds by a 21-13 score.
"It was a good game," Green said, "and just like last week (the wild win over Milwaukee Lutheran) we were competing with a team that kept coming back at us. Shorewood/Messmer took over late and had a chance, but then we showed how much we've grown as a team."
The Falcons improved to 2-0 with the win and now open Woodland Conference play at St. Francis at 7 p.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, the very aspirational Greyhounds, who fell to 0-2 after a tough loss the previous week to Woodland East favorite South Milwaukee, are licking their wounds but also are well aware of where they stand now.
"This one hurts," coach Drake Zortman said. "everyone is just a little frustrated right now. We scheduled these games and we thought we could compete. We just thought that we could pull out one of them."
The Greyhounds now open Midwest Classic play at University School at 7 p.m. Friday. USM is coached by Zortman's old friend and former Nicolet coach Brian Sommers.
And Green is making an old friend of his new junior quarterback Zack Baun, who, like he was against Lutheran, was devastating using his feet as he scored all three Falcons TDs on the night, rushing for 160 yards total.
He finished off one drive in the second quarter with a four-yard run to make it 7-0 Falcons, but then the Greyhounds were able to punch it right before half, as Messmer senior Michael Hendrix (11 carries for 82 yards) took control of the Greyhounds' running game.
Squeaker at half
Hendrix scored on an eight-yard run right before half. The missed extra point left Brown Deer up 7-6 at the half.
"Michael is one of the most committed kids to the program that we have," Zortman said. "We ask the kids to commit to the program and he has emphatically done that."
And then things got even better right at the start of the third quarter, when Hendrix finished off the opening drive by roaring 40 yards for a touchdown and a 13-7 lead. The score was a bit of a milestone for the Greyhounds under Zortman.
"It took until the second game of the third year we've been at it to get it right, but we were finally able to sandwich two scores (end of half, beginning of half)," he said. A key Deonte Newsome interception and Taylor Dennis to Louis Williams pass set up one of the scores.
But that would be the high-water mark for the Greyhounds as the Falcons continued to run Baun, a transfer student from West Bend for big chunks of yardage. He scored from two yards out before the end of the quarter to give the Falcons the lead back at 14-13.
Falcons' physical play works
The more physical Brown Deer front started to take a toll on the Greyhounds and they couldn't threaten again. The Falcons then mounted a long drive.
"We had gone back and forth and we kept self-destructing with mistakes," Green said, "but we got past that point, and we were content to running the clock, but we still wanted to get into field goal range."
But Baun did better than that, bouncing an option play around the corner for 38 yards and a score that made it 21-13 midway through the final session.
"We're still working on his timing with the receivers yet," Green said of Baun, "but we've done a very nice job these two games of establishing the line and Zack is a strong young man. He's able to pull it up and go. We need the ball in his hands on every play."
"Give Green and his staff credit," Zortman said. "They decided they were going to run the quarterback and that was the game-changer. I wouldn't mind him on our team."
Pick seals the game
Shorewood/Messmer could not cross the 50 on its subsequent possession as the Falcons' Donovan Lucus came up with a big interception. Brown Deer was then able to run out the clock with a few first downs.
Both coaches agreed the defensive job the Falcons did on Dennis and his primary target, Central Michigan recruit Jonathan Carson was vital. Carson, an All-Suburban selection last season, finished with only three catches for 13 yards as Dennis struggled to a six-of-21 passing night. Green said his defensive backs had a very good night.
"I think if we have this kind of talent in five years we win this kind of game," Zortman said. "We're just not quite there yet and that's what's frustrating."
He praised senior Nate Visor for moving up to the offensive line to help stabilize a group that currently includes three sophomores and a freshman.
Green praised running back Nick Coleman (11 carries for 44 yards) for giving balance to the backfield. He's happy with where the team is heading into conference play and noted that the future looks bright for Shorewood/Messmer, too.
"Drake does a good job out there," Green said. "They're disciplined, competitive and they don't self-destruct. They're running a good scheme out there. All they need now are a few more bodies."
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