Waukesha North quarterback Brennan Demark escapes a serious jam and finds teammate Kendall Gould for a 33-yard connection that sets up the Northstars' first touchdown of the game in the early third quarter against Kettle Moraine on Sept. 9.
Matt Harris was seeing stars in a more literal sense than he would have liked. The Waukesha North football coach walked into the path of a Brennan Demark warmup toss just before the second half, taking the blow square to the head and hitting the deck.
His headache subsided as the fourth quarter wore on, and Demark redeemed himself in more ways than one. The 6-2 senior quarterback threw two touchdowns and ran for another from 66 yards away – all before saving an errant football from again striking his coach during a postgame interview – as the Northstars scored all their points in the second half for a 24-10 victory over Kettle Moraine. The outcome maintained the momentum of a colossal win one week earlier.
“On the outside, that win looks bigger than what it did inside,” Harris said of the Week 3 win over Arrowhead that raised eyebrows across the area and put North squarely on the map. “Our kids were ready to go, minus some weather delays that kind of altered practice. Those kids put all their effort into practice.”
Coming off that 26-20 upset, North shook off the 10-0 halftime deficit and moved to 4-0. Demark, not necessarily known for his speed, nonetheless kept a play alive with his legs and found Kendall Gould for a 33-yard pass that set up a 10-yard touchdown to Chimere Dike a mere 3 minutes into the second half, and the comeback began in earnest.
“Our coaches said we just have to do our job, make plays and execute,” Demark said. “We’re pretty confident, but it just starts from practice. We practice well, we practice hard. If we practice hard, we play a good game, so it just stems from that.”
Israel Pitchford scooped up a Lasers fumble on the next series, and Austin Peters capped a drive into the KM red zone with a 32-yard field goal to tie the game. One series later, Demark burst up the middle for a 66-yard touchdown run, and he capped the night with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Gould, who was wide open.
“It feels good to be at the top right now, but we can’t get to high,” Gould said. “We have to keep a level head, and these seniors know what we have to do. We’ve got great senior leaders, Brennan, me, Malcolm (Turner), Adam (Steingraeber), we’re just stepping up and doing what we’ve got to do to lead this team. That’s what North hasn’t really had, senior leaders.”
Demark finished with an even 180 yards rushing and 180 more passing, completing 14 of his 21 passes. Gould caught only the two passes but brought in 83 yards, and Dike finished with six catches for 43 yards.
“I just wanted to see them come out and compete,” Harris added. “I challenged them because I’ve been talking about how big of competitors they are, the multiple sports they play. They were excited to come out and show me they could compete like I could believe they could.”
Kettle Moraine could have been up by more than just 10 at the break. Sam DeLany, who finished with a massive 13 catches for 141 yards and a score, hauled in a Max Duchow pass in the back of the end zone on the first series of the game, and the Lasers defense kept North from getting a foothold. Mike Timm led a host of tacklers on a sack of Demark to snuff out a drive on fourth down just outside the red zone.
“We just didn’t do a very good job of tackling,” KM coach Justin Gumm said. “Their quarterback not a true runner, and he made a lot of plays on us after things broke down. We have to be able to rally to the football.
“I think for us, the third quarter specifically has not been a strong point for us for whatever reason. We’ve talked about it as a staff, talking about finishing and having a killer instinct on both sides of the ball, not just on defense. But we have to get 11 hats to the ball.”
The Lasers drove deep into North territory in the final moments of the first half but settled for a field goal from Christian Ishag.
KM fell to 1-3 on the year.
“I think overall, we had a good gameplan going into it,” Gumm said, pointing to the fact that Gould did not have a catch in the first half. “We wanted to prevent them from taking vertical shots and make them run the football. We bent a little but didn’t break. We played pretty well in the first half and carried some of that over into the second half. Offensively, we need to get our swagger back. To get back to being that team that averages 400 yards and 40 points per game, we have to figure something out.”
Simon Jensen caught a tipped ball for an interception to help North keep KM from mounting a late rally. Will McDonald also wreaked general havoc from his defensive end position. The Northstars will meet Waukesha West next week.
One week after downing Arrowhead, Waukesha North battled back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to top Kettle Moraine on Sept. 9, 24-10.