The confidence is building for Waukesha South.
On the heels of a 41-27 win over Kettle Moraine, the Blackshirts are in waters they haven't traveled in years, moving to 4-0 for the first time since 2008. South hasn't won four games in an entire season since 2003 but still needs a win over one of the Classic 8 Conference's big four teams to make its first playoffs since 1999. Next week's game at Catholic Memorial could be interesting.
"Now we've got confidence with CMH," said running back Isaiah Pitchford. "I know everyone's going to say, 'Yeah, they're 4-0, (but) CMH is a big (challenge), now we're going to lose.' I don't think we're going to think that way. We're going to be confident now. I think we're going to turn their head a little bit."
Taking advantage of seven Lasers turnovers, South took a big lead and took a convincing win over the Lasers (1-3 overall, 0-2 in conference). Four of the turnovers led to South points.
"We took advantage of their turnovers, which is what a good football team does, take advantage of the turnovers, and that was the difference in the game, without a doubt," South coach Dave Rusch said.
Pitchford scored the first touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run in the first quarter for a 7-0 Blackshirts lead. The Lasers responded with a decent drive of their own until South's Logan LeCaptain pulled in an interception to halt the threat. The Blackshirts then produced a 75-yard drive that culminated in a 15 yard touchdown run by quarterback Cannon Cooley.
The Lasers looked poised to finally score on their subsequent possession after a 50-yard run from Jordan Berg and two completed passes to Andrew Trafton brought them to the Blackshirts' 3-yard line. But Berg fumbled the ball on his next run, and South's Brock Milkent recovered.
The Lasers again reached the South 11-yard line on their next drive, but Pitchford came up with an interception for South, the first of three picks for Pitchford and four total for South. The Blackshirts did score on this turnover on a run from Mikal Merriweather.
"They were better than us," said Kettle Moraine coach David Pfeiffer. "Eighty-three percent of every football game ever played at every level is determined by who turns it over the most."
Cooley launched a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Yatchak to open the second half for a 34-0 lead, and Pitchford came up with his third interception of the night.
"Film helps a lot," Pitchford observed. "Coach Adams does a great job with us every Monday and Saturday with film, so when we get to the game, it's like we already know what they're going to run, so that helps a lot. On the defensive side of the ball, before the season, Coach told me that everyone knew me as a running back, but he wants me to step up as a D-back, so I really took that to heart, and I just wanted to show the Classic 8 that I'm a serious defensive player."
"He's a great player," said Pfeiffer. "Right now he's the most valuable player in the league in my opinion. Run the ball that well, and play safety that well, and kick, and probably does the dishes and the floors. He's a fantastic player."
The Lasers finally managed to get on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter on a run from sophomore quarterback Jacob Varick. At 34-6, there seemed to be little reason for the Blackshirts to worry, until the Lasers recovered a Blackshirts fumble on the South 15-yard line, and Varick ran in another touchdown.
Any doubt of the outcome was erased when Pitchford scored his second touchdown of the night to make it 41-13.
"I love my O-line," he said. "They've improved a million times since last year, and we're moving as an offense together. Every week we're getting better, and I think that's helping us a lot with our wins because we're giving our defense a break every time the offense comes on the ball."
The Lasers did score twice more.
"I think they took better care of the ball and they came more in an attack mode, and we knew they would,' Rusch said. "We knew they were a second-half team. We talked about it in the team room that they're a second half team, they're not going to lay down, and they didn't. They made a nice comeback at it, but we had built up enough cushion that we figured we could hang on, and we did."
"Nice football program," said Pfeiffer. "Nice game. They've got some athletes. They've got some guys that can run, that's no secret. Other than No. 12 (Pitchford), which we know he's really fast, they're probably a little bit faster than they look on video. Speed kills."
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