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Chargers Rally Falls 3 Points Short in Border Battle with Falls

Menomonee Falls and Sussex Hamilton met in the annual gridiron border battle under the lights of Schumann Stadium Friday. The Indians dished the Chargers their first loss of the season.

The New York Mets and the New York Yankees had the “Subway Series”. The Brewers and the Cubs have the “I-94 Rivalry."

The Menomonee Falls Indians and the Sussex Hamilton Chargers have the “Highway 74” rivalry.

And the 2012 installment of the border battle did not disappoint. The Indians brought the fourth-ranked Chargers' undefeated season to an end under the lights at Schumann Stadium Friday.

The Indians (3-2, 3-1 Greater Metro) put an end to the Chargers' (4-1, 3-1 Greater Metro) perfect season with a dose of hard-hitting defense, and tough running. From the start, it was clear the energy and significance of the match up wasn't lost on the boys in burgundy and grey.

Beyond the three turnovers, the Chargers will likely leave Schumann Stadium with a soured onside kick memory.

With 2:24 remaining in the game, the Chargers clearly had the momentum and were kicking after scoring on a quarterback sneak by Sussex's Mark Gryszkiewicz on the goaline. The Chargers lined up and executed an onside kick that they appeared to recover. However, the referees held a pow-wow and ruled it had touched a Chargers player early. Falls was given the football much to the dismay of the Sussex faithful.

The Chargers would get another chance late with roughly 1 minute remaining, bt came up short. 

The key to victory for the Indians was a quick and powerful start.

Falls jumped out to an early 14-0 in the first quarter lead on a 15-yard reception by Cole Hernickl and a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Adam Vechart. The sneak was set up by a 54-yard run by Christian Almonte. The Chargers then fumbled on their next possesion, but Falls didn't turn it into points.

However, the Chargers didn't earn a top-ten state ranking by rolling over easily. Chargers' Drew Patterson was a bruiser all night and hit pay dirt on a 12-yard run late in the second quarter to trim the lead to 14-7.

In the third, Falls' Vechart connected with Justin Johnson for an 80-yard pass play, which was capped off by a 5-yard run by Cole Hernikl. The Indians recovered a fumble on the Chargers' kick return and turned the turnover into three points to take a commanding 24-7 lead in the third quarter.

The Chargers made it interesting in the fourth quarter and scored on a Patterson run to make it 24-14. The Chargers turned the ball over a third time after Mike VanAlstyne intercepted a Gryskiewicz pass in Charger territory.

The Chargers scored on a sneak late in the fourth, and the game ended on an incomplete desperation throw.

The Indians will hope to carry this momentum over to next week when the host the Marquette Hilltoppers (1-3, 1-2 Greater Metro) at 7 p.m. Friday at Schumann Stadium.

FIRST QUARTER

Q1, 12:00: Falls will return the opening kick. Cool crisp Falls night in Falls, just a few clouds.

Q1, 11:53: Falls takes the opening kick to the 37 yard line. We're underway.

Q1, 10:51: Justin Johnson hauls in a 17-yard pass, an unnecessary roughness penalty tacked another 15 yards onto the play. Falls in Chargers terrritory.

Q1, 9:56: Falls' Adam Vechart just sacampered 27 yards to pay dirt, but scoring play was called back by a holding penalty.

Q1, 8:31: TOUCHDOWN! Cole Hernikl catches a 15-yard pass from Adam Vechart for the first score of the game. Extra point is good. Indians 7 - Chargers 0

Q1, 5:12: Chargers' first drive stalls. Good punt puts the Indians at their own 12 to start its second drive.

Q1, 4:17: BIG PLAY! Indians running back Christian Almonte sprints 54-yards on a sweep to the outside. Ball at the 10 yard line.

Q1, 2:06: TOUCHDOWN! Adam Vechart scores on a 1-yard run. Extra point is good. Indians 14 - Chargers 0

Q1, 0:37: TURNOVER! Chargers fumble, and Falls recovers at the Hamilton 31-yard line.

End of first quarter

SECOND QUARTER

Q2, 10:31: Falls turns the ball over on a failed fourth-down conversion. Chargers take over at their own 25 yard line.

Q2, 7:57: Chargers driving, and running back Drew Patterson is helping the team move the chains. Ball at the Indians' 19 yard line.

Q2, 5:59: TOUCHDOWN! Chargers' Drew Patterson hits pay dirt on a 12-yard run up the left side. Extra point good. Indians 14 - Chargers 7

Q2, 2:24: Falls gets back 17 yards on 3rd and 21, forced to punt. Chargers will take over at the Chargers' 2 yard line.

End of second quarter

THIRD QUARTER

Q3, 12:00: Falls kicking off to the Chargers to start the second half. Big return by Drew Patterson, roughly 40-yard return to open the half. Chargers take over at the Indians' 37 yard line.

Q3, 8:45: Chargers drive stalls, another good punt and Falls will start at its own 5 yard line.

Q3 5:50: BIG PLAY! Falls' Adam Vechart connects with Justin Johnson for an 80-yard gain. Ball at the 5.

Q3, 5:44: TOUCHDOWN! Falls' Cole Hernikl punches it in on a 5-yard run. Extra point is good. Indians 21 - Chargers 7

Q3, 5:33: TURNOVER! Falls recovers a fumble on kick return. Falls takes over at their 49 yard line.

Q3, 4:38: Christian Almonte with a 26-yard bruising run. Falls threatening to score again.

Q3, 1:27: FIELD GOAL! Alec Knuese knocks in a 23-yard field goal to extend the lead. Indians 24 - Chargers 7

End of third quarter

FOURTH QUARTER

Q4, 12:00: Chargers will open the quarter with the ball on the Indians' 4 yard line. Looking to close the gap.

Q4, 10:48: TOUCHDOWN! Chargers' Drew Patterson runs hard for a 5-yard touchdown. Extra point is good. Indians 24 - Chargers 14

Q4, 9:40: Chargers defense comes up big, Falls goes three-and-out on its next possesion. Forced to punt. Drew Patterson fumbled the return, but Chargers recovered.

Q4, 8:14: TURNOVER! Falls' Mike VanAlstyne intercepts Mark Gryszkiewicz's pass. Indians take over at the Chargers' 29-yard line.

Q4, 6:36: Falls goes three-and-out again, and are forced to punt. The punt sailed into the end zone and the Chargers will take over at their 20-yard line.

Q4, 4:29: Chargers are driving. 2nd and 12 at the Indians' 29-yard line.

Q4, 2:59: 2nd and goal at the 1-yard line for the Chargers.

Q4, 2:24: TOUCHDOWN! Chargers' quarterback Mark Gryszkiewicz sneaks in for a 1-yard touchdown. Extra point is good. Indians 24 - Chargers 21

Q4, 2:11: Chargers appear to recover an onside kick, but referees rule that a Sussex player touched it too early. Falls takes over at the 50-yard line.

Q4, 1:58: Falls goes three-and-out and the Chargers use all three timeouts. Falls punt goes out of bounds at the Chargers 17.

Q4, 0:00: Incomplete pass on final play of the game. Falls knocks off undefeated Chargers at Schumann Stadium.

FINAL: INDIANS 24 - CHARGERS 21

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