Roaring to a title
Lions cap off perfect Woodland season with romp over Falcons
NEW BERLIN - New Berlin Eisenhower has completed its domination of the Woodland Conference.
The Woodland West champion Lions secured their first conference title since 2009 with a 45-14 rout of East division champion Whitnall in the conference title game Thursday night.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
UNDISPUTED CHAMPION: Eisenhower has left little doubt that it is the top team in the Woodland Conference.
After narrowly defeating Plymouth, 28-27, in a nonconference game to open the season, the Lions have won their eight Woodland games by an average of 37.6 points.
Eisenhower (9-0 overall, 8-0 Woodland) became the clear conference favorite once it easily navigated a four-game stretch against Pewaukee, Wisconsin Lutheran, Greendale and New Berlin West.
“I don’t know what to attribute that to,” Eisenhower coach Matt Kern said. “I knew coming into the year we’d have a nice team. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted this in terms of scores throughout the season.
“It has been gratifying seeing the kids continue to grow and get better. There’s really been no challenge we have put in front of them they haven’t been able to handle.”
JUMPING OUT EARLY: The first quarter was one-sided and deter-
mined the game. Eisenhower scored with ease on each of its first three drives of the quarter to take a 21-0 lead.
The offensive line of the Lions cleared gaping holes, and Jack Himmelspach and Jake Belongia took advantage. Himmelspach gained 140 of his 156 yards and scored two touchdowns in the first quarter.
DOMINATING DEFENSE: While Eisenhower has a powerful offense behind playmakers quarterback Bryce Miller, Himmelspach, Belongia and wide receiver Stephen Halusan, the defense of the Lions has been stout all season long.
The Lions, ranked No. 3 in Division 3, have allowed just 49 points (6.1 per game) in Woodland play with most of those points coming in second halves with wins already well in hand.
Whitnall (8-1, 7-1) mustered just 74 yards of total offense in the first half and did not find the end zone until Jacob Flores hit Dan Alexopoulos for a 30yard touchdown to cut Eisenhower’s lead to 38-7 with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter.
VERSATILE WEAPON: Belongia is a jack of all trades for Eisenhower, contributing on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the senior has been a touchdown machine this season with 18 scores in nine games.
Belongia, who finished with 75 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving, scored on a 4-yard run and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Miller.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Having gone undefeated, Eisenhower has its sights set on winning its first playoff game in six seasons.
The Lions are 0-2 in the postseason since a 22-7 win over Cudahy in 2011. Eisenhower missed the playoffs from 2012-’14 and has lost Level 1 games to Wisconsin Lutheran the past two seasons.
Ranked No. 5 in Division 3, Whitnall is back in the playoffs after going 3-6 in 2016.
Eisenhower’s Joe Lang eludes Whitnall’s Jacob Klatkewicz after a pass reception Thursday night.
New Berlin Eisenhower’s Jake Schara wraps up Whitnall’s Dan Alexopoulos for a loss.