It didn't take long for the Woodland Conference opener between New Berlin Eisenhower and Wauwatosa West to turn from competitive to a runaway.
The Lions used three second-quarter turnovers by the Trojans to grab a commanding lead and cruised to a 40-6 win Friday night at Wauwatosa West High School.
Joey Scaffidi scored four touchdowns for New Berlin Eisenhower, as the Lions began their Woodland West title defense with a rout of another contender in the division.
"Our captains preached before the game that we needed to make a statement," Scaffidi said. "Nobody really believed in us. We just wanted to make a statement and came out firing.
"That was the best we ever played. We capitalized on turnovers, we made plays when we needed to make plays and our defense stepped up and made tackles, got stops and got the offense back on the field."
After the teams traded punts to start the game, New Berlin Eisenhower took a 7-0 lead on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Miller to Sullivan Kulju.
Wauwatosa West answered with a methodical 18-play drive that took 9 minutes, 42 seconds off the clock. But instead of capping the possession with a score, running back Paris Howell fumbled, and Lions linebacker Max Maier recovered on the New Berlin Eisenhower 6-yard line.
"We had a lot of things going for us," Wauwatosa West coach Matt Good said. "We just put the ball on the ground. That cost us all night."
New Berlin Eisenhower then drove 94 yards in seven plays, taking a 14-0 lead on a 36-yard touchdown run by Scaffidi.
The game then quickly got away from Wauwatosa West.
Howell muffed the ensuing kickoff, and Peter Katris recovered for the Lions at the 4-yard line of the Trojans. Scaffidi scored on the first play after the turnover. The extra point was blocked, making it 20-0 with 6:50 left in the first half.
Jaron Radish intercepted Jamil Razza on Wauwatosa West's next possession, giving the Lions the ball at the Trojans' 10-yard line. Two plays later, Scaffidi scampered in from 6 yards out to put New Berlin Eisenhower up, 27-0.
New Berlin Eisenhower extended its lead to 33-0 on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Scaffidi.
"It's funny, every time we have a game like this, we always say the same thing: the score isn't real indicative of the gap between the two teams," New Berlin Eisenhower coach Matt Kern said. "Tonight, we got things rolling, and they got going our way."
The Lions didn't let up after halftime, as Mike White stripped Ernie LaSpisa on the opening kickoff of the second half. That led to Miller's third touchdown pass of the night, a 17-yard strike to Stephen Halusan.
New Berlin Eisenhower forced its fifth turnover of the game when Brett Angiolo intercepted Razza at the Lions' 5-yard line with 4:25 left in the third quarter.
"Obviously when you turn the ball over five times you aren't going to win any game," Good said. "I don't care if it is youth football or varsity football, (turning it over) five times isn't acceptable here."
Wauwatosa West got on the board on a 3-yard touchdown run by Howell with 8:14 to play.
The combination of the ground game led by Scaffidi and the emergence of Miller and the passing game has the Lions rolling with a balanced offensive attack. New Berlin Eisenhower has scored 122 points in its three games.
Scaffidi combined for 96 all-purpose yards, gaining 87 yards on nine carries and catching one pass for 9 yards. Miller threw three more touchdown passes Friday and now has 10 on the season.
After punting on its first possession against Wauwatosa West, the Lions scored touchdowns on six consecutive drives.
"Early in the season, that's a big part of who we've been: we have an explosive offense, but sometimes, we don't start the game the way we want," Kern said. "But once we get something good happening, the ball keeps rolling for us, and we've been able to put a lot of points on the board."
The Lions held Howell, who entered with 331 yards through two games, to just 26 yards on seven carries. Razza carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards for Wauwatosa West.
"We're going to find out how good of a football team we are right now," Good said. "Right now, we're not a good football team. Hopefully we can watch film, practice and be better next week."