Spartans RB Hunt runs for 238 yards, two TDs
TOWN OF MERTON — The Greater Metro Conference got its first win of the season Friday night in its annual football crossover challenge against the Classic 8 Conference. It took Brookfield East to break the 2019 two-game losing streak to its neighboring league.
After Marquette lost to Muskego in week No. 1 and Brookfield Central fell to Catholic Memorial last week, the Spartans broke that two-game losing streak by scoring a wire-to-wire 24- 21 victory over host Arrowhead before a large crowd at Taraska Stadium.
The Spartans got off to a great start, taking a quick 14-0 lead in the first period after the two teams exchanged punts to start the game. From there they never trailed as they led 14-7 at halftime and built that cushion to 24-7 with 8:15 to go in the game when senior Nick Pluemer scored on a 1-yard run.
But just when it looked like the game was all but over, back came the Warhawks. They put two unanswered touchdowns on the board in a span of just over four minutes and suddenly Arrowhead trailed 24- 21 with 2:42 still to play. That first score came when senior quarterback Tommy Darrow tossed a 28- yard scoring pass to senior end Carter Gilmore, playing his first year of high school football.
Four minutes later Darrow broke out of the pocket and dodged three East defenders, scoring on a 15- yard run. Suddenly it was a three-point game. However, East converted a huge third-and-five play from its own 15-yard line on the ensuing series when senior back Donovan Hunt broke loose for a 27- yard run, which all but sealed the win.
The AHS defense did tighten behind some good plays from senior Dalton Elrod, senior Johnny Orlando and Alec Swinehart and forced the Spartans to punt. As things turned out, the Warhawks got the ball back with nine seconds to play and a long pass attempt was intercepted by Hunt to ice the win. “The offense came out strong and I was really impressed how we moved the football against a good team like Arrowhead,” East coach Ben Farley said. “The offense set the tone and the defense followed that.
They got one score in the first half but for the most part we bottled them up. Give some credit to them. They have some high-octane athletes and they made some big plays at the end. But at the end we got a couple of big first downs and that was enough to get us the win.” East improved to 3-0 on the season.
It marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that East started the season with three consecutive wins. In the last six years the Spartans are 49-13. Arrowhead fell to 1-2 on the season. That’s the third time in the last four seasons that the Warhawks opened at 1-2. East scored twice on back-toback possessions in the first period.
Hunt, who rushed for 238 yards on the night, scored first on an 80-yard run and he later scored on a 2-yard run. Arrowhead’s lone touchdown in the first half came on a beautifully thrown ball from Darrow to end Robbie Symdon on a 40- yard strike. On the final play of the first half, senior kicker Joey Prondzinski booted a 27-yard field goal to put East up 17-7. Pluemer’s short touchdown run then made it 24-7 before the late heroics of the Warhawks made it close.
“We started out loose and we were playing well and then they made some plays and got back into the game,” said Pluemer, who had a big night on defense. “Carter Gilmore beat our guy and then Donovan got the big play for us.
This group of boys, I love them, and we just play week to week for each other. We put our pain out there for each other every week. On this team, it’s not me, it’s we.” While Arrowhead got off to a slow start offensively, they put on a big rally in the fourth quarter to give themselves a chance to win.
“We started with a nice defensive stop and then gave up two scores,” Arrowhead coach Fritz Rauch said. “Those two touchdowns, they scored flopped the momentum and flopped the score. We got it to 14-7 and then gave them a short field. We got four or five stops on defense in the first half but our guys kept battling. If we get that thirddown stop late in the game we’ve got a shot to win it. We’ll just keep working and trying to get better.”