Exorcising the demons
Payback over rival Brodhead has Big Foot in driver's seat
|Jordan Miller (10) and Kenny Walker celebrate Walker's second-quarter touchdown which put Big Foot up 6-0. (click for larger version)|
September 07, 2011 | 08:07 AMWALWORTH — Friday night was a date Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig had marked on his calendar for the last 10 months.
At home versus bitter rival Brodhead, a team that thwarted the Chiefs chances at a second straight Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 4 state title back in November, Big Foot was determined for payback.
And since revenge is a dish best served cold, Big Foot didn't offer a life jacket when Brodhead's chances were drowning in the second quarter.
The Chiefs fired off three second-quarter touchdowns in roughly six minutes, opening a 20-0 lead and holding on in the second half for a 27-10 victory. The win erased the bad taste of last year's 32-14 defeat to the Cardinals and improved Big Foot's Rock Valley South-leading mark to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in conference. The Walworth boys are No. 3 in the Associated Press state rankings for medium division (350-899 enrollment) schools.
For Wedig, whose team watched the film from that state semifinal loss for strategy purposes, it was a good win.
"We played well," he said. "We controlled the line of scrimmage and did a good job of stopping them."
After the teams felt each other out in the first quarter and played to a 0-0 stalemate, things picked up in the decisive second quarter.
An Ian Gallagher punt pinned Brodhead at its own 1-yard-line, and the Chiefs forced a three-and-out. Starting at the Brodhead 37, Big Foot put together an eight-play drive which culminated in a brotherly hook up. On third-and-seven, quarterback Jake Wedig bootlegged right, finding his younger brother Christian, a sophomore, wide open for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
"We did the same play that worked against Westosha Central," Rodney Wedig said. "It was a power set, and Jake threw a nice ball."
Then, after a Brodhead punt on its next possession, Kenny Walker did what he does best — runs faster than everyone else. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound, senior running back turned the corner down the right sideline, cut it back to avoid a Cardinal cornerback, and danced into the end zone for a 48-yard score. Walker gained 144 yards on the ground on a mere 11 carries. The solid field position was set up by a nice punt return by who else but Walker.
With a 13-0 advantage, David Crump recovered a Brodhead fumble, and the Chiefs were in business again. Two plays later, Jake Wedig lobbed a pinpoint spiral on a flag route to receiver Jordan Miller, exploiting single coverage in the slot. Miller did the rest, catching the ball in stride and schooling the defensive back for a 35-yard touchdown with 3:36 left until halftime.
"I wasn't shocked to jump out on them like this," Rodney Wedig said. "Our defense is playing really well."
In the first half, Big Foot held the Cardinals to 24 yards rushing.
But Brodhead wasn't ready to lay down and die. The Cardinals managed a field goal just before halftime, cutting the lead to 20-3. Later in the third quarter, a Trent Jordan 10-yard touchdown made it a ball game at 20-10. But it just angered Big Foot.
The Chiefs retaliated courtesy of their go-to-guy, Walker. On the ensuing drive, he ran off right tackle, breaking through the Brodhead defense and sprinting to the end zone for a 35-yard score with around eight minutes remaining, effectively ending the game at 27-10.
The defense clamped down after that, stuffing the Cardinals. Crump came up big again, picking off a pass in the end zone with 2:30 left in the game.
Christian Wedig paced the defense with 12 tackles, and Collin Frederick and Walker each added eight tackles. Frederick added a sack. Carter Hehr had an interception.
Offensively, it was another stellar day for Walker, who leads the area in rushing. And Jake Wedig had a big game, completing five of six passes for 92 yards and the two touchdowns.
Miller caught three balls for 40 yards.
Big Foot returns home to face McFarland (2-1, 1-0) Friday. Although less physical than Brodhead, Rodney Wedig said McFarland has good speed.
"We beat them by one point on the last play of the game last year," he said. "They have athletes all over the field. They can throw and run. We must improve on our mental mistakes."
Last year, the Spartans won the Rock Valley North and advanced to Level 3 of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs.