Warhawks roll in grid opener
Arrowhead defenders (from left) Matt Seitz, Charlie Myers and Andrew Hessler bring down Kenosha Bradford’s Tyree Lanier during the season opener Friday. Photo by: Russ Pulvermacher
During the preseason, third-year Arrowhead football coach Greg Malling kept saying that the 2013 Warhawks had a lot of talent, but the team had to establish an identity of its own. The 2012 Division 1 state championship was in the past.
It didn't Arrowhead long to make its presence felt. On their third offensive play of the game in the season opener against Kenosha Bradford on Friday, the Warhawks found the end zone, and they scored on their first four possessions on a total of total of 15 plays in a span of just 5:28. Coupled with solid defense and special teams play, that resulted in a 42-7 nonconference victory.
The win marked the 31st time in the last 32 years that the Warhawks won their first game of the season.
"We were very nervous about playing a team like Bradford in the opener, but the kids played well," Malling said. "I think our experience was the difference. We asked our kids to play fast tonight, and they did a good job of that. This is another great group of kids. It should be fun watching us try and get better with each week."
Arrowhead's offense, sporting more than a handful of new starters, was razor-sharp. Junior quarterback Blake Mielke, making his first start for the Warhawks, scored on a 43-yard run on the team's third play from scrimmage. Twelve plays later, the Warhawks had three more touchdowns as Ty Jager scored on a 21-yard run, Jack Nate caught a 27-yard pass from Mielke and sophomore quarterback Johnny Duranso exploded for a 60-yard run on his first play of the game.
"It felt great to get off to such a fast start," said senior all-state guard George Panos. "We did a good job in the line and the guys behind us played well, all of them. Every guy on offense did their jobs. Ty had a good game and Blake and Johnny also did well. It was a good way to get started."
Leading 28-0 with 7:34 still to play in the second quarter, the Warhawks made it 35-0 at the intermission when talented receiver Ricky Finco electrified the crowd by scoring on a 56-yard punt return. Finco made a great cut back to the inside at the 7-yard line to elude a defender and score the touchdown.
The entire second half was played with a running clock, kickstarted by a lead of 35 points or more.
Arrowhead quickly made it 42-0 when they scored just three plays into the second half. Jager got that touchdown on a 25-yard run.
Mielke was solid in his first varsity start. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder completed 6 of 8 passes for 108 yards and one score. He also led the AHS rushers with 111 yards on seven carries.
"It was a little different this year being the starter," Mielke said. "It was a lot faster, especially at the beginning of the game. We worked all week on the Bradford stuff, so I'm happy. I was less nervous than I thought I would be. All the guys played well and getting off to such a great start helped every one out a lot."
While the offense piled up 364 yards for the night, 295 of which came in the first half, the defense also had a big night. Bradford's lone touchdown came with 6:14 remaining the game. Arrowhead held Bradford to 9 yards on its first 9 plays of the game.
On defense, seniors Sam Seonbuchner and Charlie Reuteman had interceptions and Matt Seitz, Logan Rupard and Billy Hirschfeld also turned in numerous key plays. Senior defensive tackle Wyatt Warell had a key sack in the second period.
Arrowhead senior defensive back Alex Romenesko suffered a torn ACL knee injury in the team's scrimmage last week and will miss the season. Romenesko was expected to be one of the top defensive backs in this part of the state this fall.
AHS - Blake Mielke 43-yard run (Trevor Ostling kick)
AHS - Ty Jager 11-yard run (Ostling kick)
AHS - Jack Nate 27-yard pass from Mielke (Ostling kick)
AHS - Johnny Duranso 60-yard run (Ostling kick)
AHS - Ricky Finco 56-yard punt return (Ostling kick)
AHS - Jager 25-yard run (Ostling kick)
KB - Jay Mangum 4-yard run (Alex Marko kick)
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