Going into last Friday's huge Classic 8 Conference matchup against host Arrowhead, all the momentum appeared to be on the side of the undefeated Waukesha West varsity football team.
West took a perfect 3-0 mark into the showdown and had dominated its first three opponents, including highly touted Wisconsin Lutheran. The ninth-ranked Wolverines were averaging a brilliant 40.3 points per game.
At the same time, 13th ranked Arrowhead had suffered a sloppy 27-17 loss to host Mukwonago one week earlier.
However, all of those advantages went up in smoke for West before an overflow crowd of almost 6,000 people at Arrowhead when the normally sure-handed Wolverines committed six turnovers, allowing the Warhawks to get the upset win, 10-7.
"We really preach the turnover ratio, and I bet we were plus 14 or something like that coming into the game," said West coach Steve Rux. "Things have worked in our favor in terms of turnovers coming, in but they didn't tonight. Our guys are sure-handed people. Our ball-security people turned it over. We have to learn from our mistakes and focus on the next game. This one is going to hurt, but it's early in the season and we can't let one loss break our heart."
West fell to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play with the loss. This Friday, the Wolverines will host Mukwonago in a crucial league game at 7 p.m. West fumbled the ball away to the Warhawks twice in the opening quarter. The mistake that probably hurt the Wolverines the most came in their third series when they moved the ball to the Arrowhead 3-yard line with just more than three minutes to go in the opening period.
West running back Kevin MacCudden appeared to be on his way to scoring a touchdown when he fumbled the ball into the end zone. The ball bounced loose for several seconds before Dylan Chmura of West appeared to recover the ball for an apparent touchdown.
However, Chmura never gained full possession of the ball, and Arrowhead defensive back Drew Meyer wrestled the ball away from the West tight end. The score remained 0-0.
With just over three minutes to go in the first half, the Warhawks intercepted quarterback Brandon Berghoefer and took over at the West 10-yard line. Two plays later, Arrowhead scored its only touchdown on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Saeger to end Charlie Fischer.
Arrowhead added a 38-yard field goal by Meyer on the final play of the first half, giving the Warhawks a 10-0 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, West had the ball in Arrowhead territory three times and couldn't pull back to even.
West scored its only touchdown of the night when junior running back Joe Schobert bulled in from 3-yards out. Steve Drida's extra point kick cut the deficit to 10-7 with 6:39 still to play.
The Wolverines had two more possessions but turned the ball over on a fumble and an interception. The final turnover - an interception by Meyer - sealed the outcome with 46 seconds remaining in the game.
West lost two of its starting offensive linemen in the game. Senior Chris Busbey went out in the first half with a leg injury, and junior Blake Stewart went out in the second half.
Looking ahead to next week:
Mukwonago at West
Mukwonago will play at West this Friday in a big game for both teams, which enter at 1-1 in league play. The loser will likely fall out of title contention in the Classic 8.
Mukwonago, led by talented quarterback Derek Hasanoglu, lost to Catholic Memorial last Friday, 19-3. The only points for the Indians came on a Darin Howell 37-yard field goal in the second period.
North at Memorial
Catholic Memorial will play its second consecutive home game against Waukesha North at 7 p.m. Friday. Memorial is 4-0 on the season and ranked first in the state in the Medium School Division Associated Press rankings. North is 1-3 and has lost three straight games.
CMH is led on offense by running back Pete Karczewski, quarterback Dominic Zanoni and end Brett Kocour. On defense, senior end Cody Gardetto had a big game for the Crusaders last week.
Joe Webb is the top scoring threat for the Northstars.
South at Kettle Moraine
Waukesha South, after starting the season with a pair of wins, has lost its first two conference games to West and Milwaukee Pius. Kyler Tolefree and Corey Broussard are the top offensive threats for the Blackshirts.
Kettle Moraine is 2-2 overall and 1-1 in league play. Running back Will Orne anchors the KM offense. KM defeated Waukesha North last Friday, 15-7.
See a full photo gallery from the Arrowhead-West football game online.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Boys basketball: Waukesha North's Marquis Carter returns from injury, puts Northstars in title contention
- Football: AJ Raebel replacing Dave Rusch as Waukesha South's head football coach
- Year in Review: Waukesha Replay: A look back at the top 2015 sports stories in the area
- Track and field: Waukesha athletes run to runner-up spots
- Basketball: West girls maintain lofty standing with big week
- Football: Taylor named Defensive Player of Year in Classic 8
- Football: Schobert's remarkable journey continues for UW
- Football: Early deficit, long Homestead drive ends Waukesha West's title hopes
- Football: Mistakes haunt Catholic Memorial in heartbreaking title-game loss
- Football: Catholic Memorial cruises into state final with all-around effort