The annual "Battle of New Berlin" was anything but, as Eisenhower scored 42 unanswered points to handily whip West, 42-8, at Eisenhower on Sept. 16 before a packed house.
Both teams showed nerves as West fumbled a punt, and Ike recovered on the 31, only to see the Lions take the ball down to the 1-yard line and fumble it back. Max Meleski raced around right end, cut back and outran the Ike secondary 95 yards for a touchdown three plays later. Quarterback Nate Egofske converted a 2-point conversation and the Vikings had their only lead of the night, 8-0, with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left in the quarter.
"Max is a tremendous running back," West coach Ben Chossek said. "We give him a crease, and he got us off to a great start for sure."
But early mistakes took away from the momentum of Meleski's big run.
"You have to take advantage of every opportunity against a team as good as Eisenhower," he said. "We had a couple chances, but we didn't quite come up with it, and they make you pay."
Eisenhower's Bryce Miller orchestrated a drive of 80 yards in 12 plays, finishing up the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. Cade Koski kicked the first of his six extra points to cut the lead to 8-7 with 1:58 left in the quarter.
Miller combined with Stephen Halusan for 21 yards down to the 2-yard line. Joey Scaffidi then scored but hurt his ankle on the play and never returned, though Ike had the lead for the first time, 14-8, at the 11:38 mark.
"It's like any ankle injury," Lions coach Matt Kern said of Scaffidi. "We'll know more tomorrow. I said nine months ago some strengths will be the rare amount of depth this team will have at the perimeter positions, and now we have to dip into it a little bit."
The Lions got on the board one more time in the second quarter when Jayden Olson rushed 26 yards for a score, ending a 12-play, 72 yard drive for a 21-8 halftime lead.
The Lions went 72 yards on a one-play drive, as Miller hit Halusan on a bubble screen pass and the junior wide receiver cut back up the middle and raced in for the score and a 28-8 lead to put the game out of hand.
"Bryce is an excellent athlete, and he's a playmaker," Kern said. "We tried to divide some things in our offense to take advantage of his strengths, as well as the strengths of the receivers that we have."
Miller found Halusan for another 34-yard pass to set up a Jake Belongia touchdown, and Belongia topped off the night with a 95-yard touchdown after the Lions defense turned West over on downs at the doorstep of the end zone.
"As a coach you can say, 'All right, we got the big plays,' but you want to complement that with some fundamentals in the run game," Kern said. "I think we're making strides in our ability to run the ball. As you get into October games and hopefully playoff games, those are the things that are going to be important.
"The defenses are going to be strong no matter who you are playing, that is definitely going to be a point of emphasis as we get into the back half of things."
Chossek, who was an assistant at Brookfield East, which played Brookfield Central every season, knows a thing or two about intra-city rivalries.
"It's intense," he said. "It's been a little one-sided lately, and we want to get closer, but it was a lot of the same feeling and a lot of the same emotions (as Brookfield). It was a lot of fun."