As it turned out, the Whitnall-West Allis Central football game was a tale of two halves, two days and two heroes.
The contest began on Aug. 19 with Central's Xavier Mullins collecting 109 yards on just two carries, including an 81-yard touchdown scamper to help give the Bulldogs a 9-7 halftime lead.
Mullins showed some lightning quickness on his run, but real lightning intervened at halftime, forcing a suspension of the contest to the evening of Aug. 22.
When it resumed, Whitnall backup quarterback Jacob Flores took the spotlight, stepping in for the injured Andrew Mallmann and leading the Falcons on a scoring drive that eventually gave them a 16-9 victory.
Flores completed 5 of 5 passes for 99 yards in Whitnall's final two possessions, including a 4-for-4 effort on a 56-yard drive and a 50-yard toss to Adam Pelkofer.
"Andy (Mallmann) got hurt (early in the third quarter)," Whitnall coach John Quinlan said, "but Flores stepped up. I think it really showed a lot of the stuff in the offseason, the seven-on-sevens. With our passing leagues, (Mallmann and Flores) just switched series all summer long, and even in practice, they were switching series. That paid off, because we really didn't miss a beat."
Flores was ready
Flores said he was ready when his number was called.
"I was a little nervous at first," he said. "I have played QB since my freshman year, and I knew I was going to get in sometime. This was my opportunity, and I made the most of it."
The Falcons had taken a 10-9 lead on a 31-yard field goal from Ryan Korpal with five minutes left in the third quarter, then Mitchell Knapp picked off a Griffin Johnson pass on the right sideline, giving Whitnall the ball right back on its own 44-yard line.
Flores hit Stephan Flores for gains of 9 and 10 yards and found Pelkofer for 7 as Whitnall moved downfield. He then connected with Pelkofer for a 10-yard score which put the Falcons up 16-9 with 1 minute, 4 seconds left in the third.
Central coach Keith Ringelberg was unhappy with his team's slow start in the second half.
"With a situation like that (only playing one half), it's critical to make your mark early," he said. "You've got to be the guy who scores first or makes a big defensive play. They (the Falcons) scored first, then they got a pick (and scored again), and now we're playing catchup."
The Bulldogs made a noble attempt to come back, mounting a long, grinding drive on the legs of Glenn Martin, Mullins and quarterback Johnson and reaching the Whitnall 10. They were hurt by three penalties, though, the biggest of which was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct that set them back to the 25.
Still, they kept driving and got to the Whitnall 3 before the Falcons forced an incomplete pass on fourth down.
"When you are playing only a half, everything is critical and time is of the essence," Ringelberg said. "You can't have people jumping offsides when you're moving the ball."
Whitnall took over on its 3-yard line and three plays later, Flores scrambled around behind the line of scrimmage, dodging tacklers and unleashing a long pass to a wide-open Pelkofer near midfield. Pelkofer took the ball to the Central 41 for a 50-yard gain.
"It was a broken play," Flores said. "I tried running to the outside and saw Adam running across the middle and hit him wide open."
Whitnall ran off some time, then punted to the Central 3, leaving the Bulldogs with a couple of desperation plays that carried them only to their own 30.
In the first half Aug. 19, the highlight was Mullins' 81-yard scoring sprint down the left sideline for a score that drew Central within 7-6 in the first quarter.
The Falcons then moved to the Central 4 before an incomplete fourth-down pass and the Bulldogs took the ball from their 4 to the Whitnall 10, from where Luis Suarez connected on a 27-yard field goal for a 9-7 halftime lead which lasted almost four days.