Quarterback Griffin Johnson led a strong offense for West Allis Central, which battled powerful Brookfield East before falling, 36-21, in the Greater Metro Conference football opener on Sept. 2.
Johnson completed 16 of 20 passes for 148 yards and touchdowns of 2 yards to David Martinez and 5 yards to Xavier Mullins, keeping the Bulldogs close against unbeaten East.
"Except for one series, he played well," coach Keith Ringelberg said. "He stood tall in the pocket and threw the ball like we know he can. This should give him a lot of confidence going forward."
Central will need continued solid play from Johnson as it next takes on another unbeaten team, Brookfield Central, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at the West Allis Athletic Complex. The Lancers blanked West Allis Hale, 46-0, on Sept. 2 behind 206 yards on the ground by Zach Heckman and 137 passing by quarterback Drew Lesczcynski.
Against Brookfield East last week, the Bulldogs fell behind 8-0 before rallying on Johnson's 2-yard pass to Martinez. The extra point failed, leaving the Bulldogs down 8-6 after one period.
East tallied twice in the second quarter to go up 22-6 at the half, but the Bulldogs bounced back when Johnson hit Mullins for the 5-yard score and Jared Welsch with a two-point conversion pass to trim the deficit to 22-14 late in the third period.
"We were right there," Ringelberg said. "We had a lot of excitement and momentum."
The Spartans, though, answered with another drive that was capped by a 31-yard touchdown run by Jake Graf to go ahead 29-14 with the extra point.
"They put a drive together, and we had some breakdowns on defense, some missed assignments," Ringelberg said.
East added another touchdown, and the Bulldogs tallied again late in the game on a 3-yard run from Jose Cruz.
"The kids did not quit," the coach said. "They battled real tough for the whole 48 minutes, which was great to see. It was a matter of some minor details and not finishing things. We would do something well for 90 percent of the time, but it was that other 10 percent that hurt us."