Spartans alone at the top

Swittel still sees areas for improvement after shutout win

Sept. 16, 2011


On paper, a 29-0 win might look perfect. For Brookfield East head coach Tom Swittel, his team’s victory over visiting Wauwatosa East on Friday night was anything but.

“Far from perfect,” Swittel said. “We left way too many points on the field. We had a touchdown called back on an illegal contact, we made a lot of mistakes, and we have plenty of work to do.”

And the Spartans’ perfect 5-0 record?

“We could lose our next four games,” Swittel added. “We have four very, very tough games coming up. The minute we think we’re good, we’re not. We don’t look at our ranking or anything like that.”

While the Spartans may not be perfect, they were closer to it than the Red Raiders. The Spartans defense limited Tosa East to 71 yards passing and negative-8 rushing. The Red Raiders defense kept them in the game early, but mistakes and a struggling offense became too much to overcome.

“That’s the story of our season,” said Tosa East head coach Jake Wolter, whose team dropped to 1-4 and 0-3 in the Greater Metro Conference. “It’s not our defense that’s losing these games for us. They’ve kept us in every game, but you can’t keep putting them in those positions. It’s turnovers, bad punts and giving away short fields. Every score we gave up tonight came on a short field.”

The Spartans were led offensively by junior running back Zach Schober, who rushed 31 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the game’s first score midway through the first quarter. Schober said the heavy workload started to wear him down late in the game.

“To be honest, I did feel the fatigue a little bit,” he said. “We didn’t pass the ball much tonight, so I started to feel it a little in the fourth quarter.”

But by that point, the hole was too deep for the Red Raiders. Brookfield had built its 29-0 edge by the end of the third quarter and played a ball-control game with heavy substitutions in the fourth.

Defensively, the Spartans were led by 6-foot-4, 215-pound defensive lineman Alec James, who also chipped in offensively with an 11-yard touchdown run and a 19-yard scoring catch. James was relentless in the pass rush all night, utilizing an arsenal of bull rushes and spin moves at the line of scrimmage as Brookfield stymied a passing attack that posted 231 yards against West Allis Central a week ago.

“That’s a Division I player,” Wolter said. “I’m not looking forward to watching the film and seeing how many times our quarterback had to pick himself up. But I am looking forward to watching that kid play years down the road.”

For as dominant as James was, he was equally humble.

“It’s never just about me,” James said. “It’s always our offensive line, they make everything develop. Even on the touchdown run, I really didn’t have to do anything at all. The blocking popped it wide open, and I just ran.”

After five weeks, the Spartans have proven to be a powerful force. Sitting alone atop the Greater Metro Conference, they have notched four shutouts and have outscored their opponents 195-13. 

“We talk about not being complacent a lot,” Swittel said. “There’s definitely room for us to get better.”

On the other side, Wolter was proud of a group that may have been overmatched but was never outhustled.

“We kept getting licked,” he said, “but we don’t quit. Our kids always get back up.”

The Red Raiders seek their first conference win next Friday when they host Marquette (3-2, 2-1), while the Spartans host Brookfield Central (3-2, 2-1) on Thursday night.





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