In the mind of Brown Deer's Brett Youngbeck, the best friend an option quarterback can have is a running back the caliber of the Falcons' returning All-Suburban selection Chris Smith, who draws great attention with his quickness, his elusiveness and his endless comparisons to Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.
"Happens all the time," laughed Smith about that last item, after he gained a workmanlike 186 yards on 24 carries and scored five TDs in leading the Falcons to a stunningly easy 54-19 rout of host Cudahy Friday night.
Youngbeck, who had 118 yards on just nine carries with a TD rush and a scoring pass to his credit, knows how good he's got it.
"The whole principal of it for every team we face is to stop Chris," said Youngbeck. "That's why my runs are so good, because everybody (on the opposing defense) is going for him."
And that's why now everyone should be wary of the Falcons, who improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in Woodland Conference action. More importantly, in coach Rob Green's eyes, his team avoided a letdown after the emotionally huge victory over Greendale last week.
"We had a few setbacks early as they came out pretty aggressively and we didn't respond well, but our kids don't get down, we just continued to come at them for four quarters," he said.
Or in the instance of Friday night's game, for three, nearly perfect quarters offensively, as after the Packers (1-2, 2-2), drew first blood on a penalty-aided 60-yard drive that resulted in a Todd Szymuszkiewski 4-yard run for score, Brown Deer scored 27 unanswered points to take control of the game for good.
Drives of 64 yards (Youngbeck, 1-yard run); 57 (Smith, 3, run); 63 (Smith, 36, run); and 60 (Smith, 12, run) resulted in a 27-7 lead before the Packers' Julius Allen ripped off a 75-yard TD run to make it 27-13 with 4:26 left in the half.
But any momentum Cudahy may have thought they had going into the half was quickly extinquished as the Falcons put together their best possession of the game right before the break. They went 89 yards in nine plays as Youngbeck hit Kierre Ogbanna for 18 yards with a pass and Sean Andryauskus for 16 yards while Smith broke off a 27-yard run. Smith finished off the effort himself with a 5-yard burst up the middle that made it 34-13 at the break.
Packer coach Steve Madden, a leader of the Packers' amazingly fierce defense of the 1994 state championship team, was stunned at what happened to his squad.
"We really couldn't stop those two kids (Smith and Youngbeck)," he said. "They're just outstanding football players who we could not contain. It's just very hard to simulate what they do. Give them credit. They're 4-0 for a reason."
Falcon offensive coordinator Andy Green said it simply, that when the spread-formation offense is going like it was this night, it's just best to get out of the way.
"Stick to fundamentals and just let them play," he said.
Brown Deer put the running clock in order in the third quarter, with three more scores, as Youngbeck finished off a 71-yard march by hitting Andryauskus with a seven-yard TD pass. That was followed by an easy 1-yard run by Smith after Brian Michalica blocked a Packer punt at the five-yard line. Then Najee Williams found paydirt with a nifty 17-yard run at the end of the period after an Anthony Coates interception deep in Cudahy territory.
It was just more than the Packers, who got a garbage-time TD run from Dillon Tycz, could handle.
"We really have to pick it up," said Madden. "We play to the best of our abilities like we did for a time in the first quarter, we can hang with anyone, but when we back down and make mistakes like we did tonight, we can be as bad as any other team. We have to get some things right."
Youngbeck and Smith felt like the Falcons took the right approach towards this game.
"Like I've said before," said Youngbeck, "We don't try to look ahead at all. We just play whoever's right in front of us. We just want to win the game that's next on the schedule."
"We're just going to play people as hard as we can everytime out," added Smith. "We're not going to look past anyone."
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